One of my favorite things to do on Sunday mornings is to go visit our Poplar Springs Sunday School classes. It has been a long time since last Sunday or Wednesday and I miss the family. This past Sunday I stopped in to harass the kids in Anna Hunt and Jeannie Price’s class. In my discussion with one of the young members of the class, I was gently corrected by her. I will not use the last name to avoid singling out the child. I will just use the first to protect her identity…Sadie.
I was making a statement that included a reference to Poplar Springs as “my church.” At this point, the obviously well-informed and theologically qualified youngster said to me, “Andy, it’s not your church. It’s God’s church.” I did not have a leg to stand on. There was no debate with this youngster who just preached to the preacher.
However, after having a moment to think about it, there could be two sides to the discussion. The first is this: “Sadie was absolutely right.” The church doesn’t belong to the pastor, a particular group, or an individual in the congregation. It was established by almighty God in his son Jesus Christ and it is, therefore, His institution. Quite a few years ago I went to my twentieth high school reunion. I was a minister of youth at the time and numerous former classmates were probably wondering how I wound up in this line of work. A number of them, after realizing I was an associate and obviously a “pastor in waiting” according to some, would ask me, “Andy, do you want your own church?” I wanted to give my beloved friends and classmates a response that would have been a little more sarcastic than Sadie’s as I pondered answering their question with a very haughty response, “No, I have decided I am gonna let God keep His church until He does something that makes me think he doesn’t know what He is doing anymore!!!” Fortunately, I kept my cynical statement to myself and simply said no.
On the other hand, “my Church” can be a term not of possession but of intimacy concerning the local congregation when we define it as “my place” where:
- I am loved
- I am accepted
- I am nourished in the faith
- I am provided opportunities to worship and serve God in Christ
Poplar Springs family you do a great job of making the church both God’s and ours!!!! Thank you Sadie for the wonderful sermon!