Church Without Walls
Isn’t it funny that kids have such a fascination with boxes? Big boxes, small boxes, refrigerator boxes, shoe boxes . . . all can provide hours of entertainment. In their boxes, children decide the rules, they choose the reality. It’s up to them if their box becomes a fort, a car, a house, a spaceship, or an oversized ogre named Shrek. Before long it is hard to take the box away from them because they become accustomed to playing within their new confines and are comfortable with what they have created. It’s hard to give up the box that represents a world you control.
Even as we grow older, we never tire of playing in boxes. Only now the boxes provide meaning for our lives. In our minds they offer stability and control. If we can define what is and is not included in the walls of our box, there is less fear of the unknown. In our box we know what to expect because we make the rules . . . we draw the boundaries . . . we create our own reality. If we are honest we will probably see that we spend more time in boxes than we realize. We have specific boxes for family, for relationships, for our kids. We have boxes for church, for worship, and even for God because we think we have a solid grasp on what these areas should look like.
The problem is that while we get lost in fascination with our boxes, we forget we live for a God who, throughout history, moves beyond the box. Tell me, whose box would have included a “holy people?” A baby born in a manger? A cross and an empty grave? God calls us to move beyond our boxes so we might stop defining our lives on our own terms and open ourselves up to whatever God might do through us!
Often the walls of church create a box for us. Inside these walls we know what to expect, we are in control of what takes place. But, taking up our cross and following Jesus was never intended to be done solely inside four walls. Instead it is a life lived on the open road, as together we take Christ to every corner of our lives, our families, and our communities. So our prayer for this church is that we not settle for what just takes place in this building, but that we move beyond the box in every area of our lives and truly become “a church without walls.” There is a world out there that needs to see Jesus and not simply the cardboard of our lives.
So maybe we ought to give up our boxes, and not be surprised when, with the imaginative joy of a child, God fashions us into “a church without walls.”