Monday, August 5, 2013
Church on the Road.
We're firm believers that Church isn't a place, it's a Body, and we don't need a building in order to worship The Creator. However, we do miss regular communion with fellow Believers in a focused atmosphere, and finding a church is a good way to find that.
So... here in Erie, we did a little church shopping.
We planned on leaving directly after the church service, so the time had to be right - not too early, not too late - and nothing creepy. We define creepy as having to speak in tongues in order to be saved. Or places that seem to include a lot of touching. Not that I have serious issues with Pentecostals, I think they've got some stuff figured out about The Spirit - but I don't speak in tongues and I'm not keen to believe that means I'm not saved. One Baptism... and stuff.
So we perused websites and did drive-bys and came up with Grace Church. Their website is here.
Their services are held in a brand new building with theatrical seating - very cushy. They've got a mega-church model childcare system. Their band is on a stage with lots of lighting and a giant sound board to back them up. There are multiple screens.
The mega-church thing is something that I sort of got over years ago. The whole concept of the mega-church sort of irked me. I feel like it's weird to have an exclusive membership coffee bar and spend thousands on theatrical lighting when you aren't doing theatre - or are you? To me, making a service into a theatrical performance starts to blur the lines between truth and fiction. I'm not sure what I think about any of it, honestly.
But that's another discussion.
We liked Grace. Our kids had a good time. They ate goldfish crackers. They made friends.
I'm not sure if anyone noticed Michael and me. There was the traditional "grip and grin" session, but no one introduced themselves. I hate that part anyway.
I did think the message was poignant. The pastor talked about Nehemiah building the wall and how when he was about to finish, his enemies tried to convince him to stop. They threatened him. They dragged his character through the mud. They even got his friends to betray him. But Nehemiah's mission was clear, and he continued forward with his calling and on his mission, even when it was hard. The pastor also mentioned that we shouldn't be surprised when people oppose us, or when things get hard - when there are obstacles, hard-ships, pain... these things are all mentioned as normalcy for Christians. This has been a through line of sermons for us for the past few months. It's a little scary, but encouraging at once, to see The Spirit working in so much unity in the Church. Hearing about something from our pastor in Maryland, and then hearing that reiterated by a pastor hundreds of miles away. God is Always. God is Everywhere. God is Good.