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My church is not a building

Sunday, June 30, 2013

I went to my first church service since Last Mondays F1 tornado hit my church 11 miles away from my house in Muscatine Iowa. No one can enter the church because its walls are not on its foundation. The walls are unstable because of this. We had a service outside in a huge tent the church rented until we can get back in a building. The sign outside was our church is not a building. The sermon was on psalm 46. The pastor joked at the beginning of the service that he hoped we appreciated the new air conditioning system which was a cool breeze blowing through the tent. We sang a older hymn A mighty fortress is our God along with the newer ones we usually sing. The pastor said our church is alive and healthy even though our building is not safe and needs a years worth of work. It was true. The service was beautiful and moving. I cried and felt blessed to be there. We had low census at the hospital so I got today off. I went to church without knowing how bad the damage to the church was. 4 people were in the church when the tornado struck last Monday. No one was hurt. A nearby car dealership wasn't as fortunate a 65 year old man just months away from retirement died. We prayed for his widow. I felt Gods presence at church stronger then I ever have! Praise the Lord in all circumstances.
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    I am so sorry to hear about your church. We heard about the tornado but you have made it very real. I will pray for you and your church and the wife and family of that poor man who died. God loves you.
    2453 days ago
    We know that the "church" is, indeed, the true believers who make up the congregation & not the building we worship our Lord God in.

    Still, I like to see the houses of God as nice as possible & well cared for - maybe the actual building is what draws some folks in initially, so that they hear the Word & have fellowship with true Christ followers - thus, tools the Lord God uses to lead them to salvation.

    That said - the church building should come second to the ministry of the church body.

    Thank you for sharing how our Creator God is working in the midst of what some might consider a tragedy that "He shouldn't have allowed to happen"!

    Isn't it a blessing to know & understand that He is Sovereign & that means nothing happens without His foreknowledge & within His plan to work in & through whatever in a mighty way?

    I have lifted prayer on behalf of the widow & family of the man who perished.

    God bless!
    2468 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/3/2013 2:19:35 PM
  • no profile photo CD13342094
    Earlier this year (or maybe last year), an Episcopal church was vandalized late Saturday night. The altar was destroyed. The altar is central to Episcopal services, as we celebrate communion (we call it eucharist, or the Great Thanksgiving) at every service. The damage wasn't discovered until the priest arrived Sunday morning. Clearly, there was no time to make other arrangements.

    The congregation held its service outside the building that day. It prayed for the people who vandalized its building. While the altar is central to our services, it is not central to our faith: an altar is anywhere we can place the host & wine. And while we use the word church to describe the building where Christians worship, the Church is always the people, not the buildings where we congregate.

    There's a fundamental principle in Buddhism that one's attachments prevent one from attaining enlightenment. I think we occasionally need reminders that while the building where we worship may bring us comfort and it may be where we feel close to God, we should never be so attached to a building that we lose sight of what the Church really is.

    May the peace of the Lord be with you.
    2469 days ago
    Such a beautiful blog, Karen... I am really sorry for the damage on the building but as you said, your church isn't a building. So very true!
    2470 days ago
  • LINDA!
    I am so sorry about the building. But it sounds like you have a wonderful church and God will help you build a new building. emoticon emoticon
    2470 days ago
    I appreciated this more than you will ever know. I have never found God in a building...not even some of the most beautiful cathedrals felt to me like a place where God was. I find God in my garden, in the woods, in the face of animals and young children and very old people, but never in a building. It's the fellowship and the care and concern for each other that are the feelings of the presence of God to me. I am sad to hear about the tornado damage to the lives of those in your town. I will put you and your church family on the prayer chain here at our church in Montana. When they were building our new church about 10 years ago someone painted the word "GRACE" in huge letters on the roof before the shingles went on...so it's now "Covered by Grace". I enjoyed your story about the air conditioning provided by God.

    Some of the best church services I ever attended were in old stinky tents in the Army. Or just standing in a huddle holding hands saying a quick prayer. My favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:28..."And we know that ALL things work together for good to those who love God and are fitting into His plan"
    2470 days ago
    I am sorry for the Widow of the dealership guy.
    I will keep his family in my prayers. The Lord Is good!
    I am glad that no one was hurt when the tornado hit your church.
    You are right the church is not the building. We are the church.
    Us believers just meet in a building to do worship.
    (We can even meet outside and the Lord is there!)
    I hope that your church get rebuilt soon though.
    Have a very blessed week my friend! Holly emoticon
    2470 days ago
    Hard times don't feel good,but when you feel His presence it make them bearable. emoticon
    2471 days ago
    I'm sorry to hear about everything with the tornado. Prayers for you and your church.
    2471 days ago
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