What is church to you? A building? A denomination? Hypocrites? Posers? People who love and care? People who are weak? People who think they are perfect? People who enforce, follow and/or break rules? People who are fake? People who are kind? I am learning now more than ever that the church is all these things and more. Church is a complicated mix of good and bad, light and dark, love and hate. I know this about the church not because I’ve worked at a church, am a member at a church or because I’m in seminary. I know the good, bad and ugly about church because,

I am the church. 

A normal day in my life begins with prayer on the tread mill. I ask God to help me be a better wife then I go upstairs and criticize my husband about something petty. I ask God to help me be a more patient and wise mom and by the end of the day I generally have a mothering regret and/or an apology to make. I’ll text my BFF a happy, kissy, heart-filled emoji and then I’ll give the lady driving slowly in the fast lane a look of condescending disgust when I fly past her on the freeway. I sometimes gossip, sometimes hate (though I call it something else that sounds more Christian) and more than sometimes, I lose my temper. And those are just the things I’m willing to share that make up the imperfect, sinful and dark side of me.

I am the church.
I also love Jesus. I pray for my favorite barista at Starbucks because she’s awesome.  I mentor an inner city teenager. I prayed with my family at dinner for someone who is bullying one of my kids. I told my kids I wanted to claw the child’s hair out, but that being a Christ follower means obeying God’s Word when it’s hard. I volunteer at my kids’ school, at church and I repeatedly find myself providing housing for random Chinese students.

I am the church.
What I’m learning about church is that church is people. It is me and people like me; imperfect, trying-hard, Jesus-loving people who need a lot of grace, love and prayer. What I’m learning about church is if I want it to look better, different, less hypocritical and more like Jesus there is only one thing to do.

Let God do his work in me

Do I find that easy, desirable or fair? No, but that’s why it’s called it dying to self (if it was fun, simple and easy it would have been called it a dance party). In this season of Lent 

I am the church