Monday, August 1, 2011

The Messy Church

Is your church messy?  Ours is.  We attend the Sunday service in a building that's around 200 years old.  It is currently being repaired, but that's not what makes it messy.  We have a pot-luck once a month, but that's not the reason, either.  The little kids run around with chalk and lollipops, but they are not the cause.  In fact, considering all these things, the church is incredibly well-cleaned.  The floors are kept vacuumed, the bathrooms and kitchen are clean, and things are kept in their proper place.  It is really a beautiful building.

But I"m not talking about the building.  The building is where the church meets.  The church is made up of her people.  And her people are messy.

Now, I'm not saying that people come to church all covered in breakfast or anything (except maybe Lily, but we try to clean her up before we go!).  Everyone comes in the door in clean, neat clothes.  You wouldn't walk into our church on a Sunday morning and say it was messy.  It's nothing you would notice at first glance. In fact, you could attend for years and not notice it.  But it's there, under the surface.

Every once in a while, you get a glimpse.  At first, it's just a peek.  Then, little by little, it becomes clearer.  You start to notice the cracks in the facade.  Not like the cracks in the plaster, that make thinks look shabby. These cracks appear in the people.  A tear might creep out, or maybe a laugh.  A show of emotion.  A smile, where there is usually a frown, or a frown, where you expect to see a smile.  A stray word.  The cracks become larger.  The service goes a little long.  The order gets confused.  Someone comes forward.  Someone asks for prayer.  Someone gets prayed for even before they ask.  There is an unscheduled song, or an unscheduled silence.   Someone is honored.  Someone is let down.  Someone is sick.    Someone is healed.

The cracks widen.  Something starts to flow out.  The colors mix together, forming a huge, multicolored cloud.  It's a mess.  And it's beautiful.  The people pull themselves back together and leave the building.  They look the same on the outside, but inside, they are all the colors of the rainbow.  


  1. Hi Robin - saw your tweet and thought I'd stop by. Our church is only somewhere between 80 and 90 years old and it's pretty messy in the same way. There's not even much of a facade anymore. The congregation is pretty small and we've known each other for a long time. Our family has only been there about 7 years, but a lot of them (or their families) have been there since the '20s. Great post!

  2. Hi, Carol - Our church is pretty small, too. I wonder if that makes the "messiness" easier to achieve?


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