Church isn’t a place or a building. It can’t be burned down or broken into. It can’t be venerated. It isn’t a pilgrimage site.
It would be nice if people can just meet at each other’s houses, rather than have a separate building to have to keep up and pay rent on. If a separate building is required, it would be awesome if it could be multi-faith. Muslims on Friday, Jews on Saturday, Christians on Sunday, and a joining of all three during the rest of the week. This seems like an efficient use of space. Or have it like a community center, where religious groups just happen to meet.
But really, the most important idea is this. Church is within us. Every person has within them the light of God. Every person was created by God. So “church” can be here, online, where we share ideas and encourage each other.
What does it matter if we have huge cathedrals that are filled every week if the people inside are not awake to their divine connection with God? Jesus tells us about the dangers of storing up treasures for ourselves here on earth. He tells us about the danger of losing your own soul, of forgetting our connection with God.
Church is a community of like minded people. The community is meant to build each other up. To encourage and support. To heal. To work together for the fixing of the world.
A church service is anything that helps further the goal of loving God and loving our neighbors as ourselves. We are called to love God with all of our hearts and all our minds and all of our souls. We are called to love our neighbors in the same way.
Who are our neighbors? Everyone. We are called to be nice to everyone. Sure that is hard. Jesus tells us that if you love only the nice people, what’s the point? We need to love the mean people because they need it more. We are to treat others as we would like to be treated – not like we have been treated. We are commanded to serve people because we are Christian. It isn’t about us converting them to be Christian. It is about being a servant.
Each person needs to know that God is real, and active, and present. God isn’t a “past tense” God. God is right now.
Each person needs to be empowered to hear from God.
Each person needs to be encouraged to share what they have heard from God.
Prayers should be offered for everyone. This includes those who are gathered, those who are part of the community, all seekers, and all who are lost. Pray for nations and the world. Pray for everyone. The Buddhists have a nice way of praying that asks for all beings to be well.
Prayers need to be balanced. If there are petitions for healing, then there also need to be prayers of thankfulness.
People need to learn how to determine their spiritual gifts, and then how to apply them.
Everyone needs to have a volunteer activity in the community. Faith without works is dead.
This isn’t an ego trip. We aren’t special. We are workers in the field. God owns the field.
Whenever anything new is considered, it must be measured against the command to love. Does it show love?
Everyone is expected to read the Bible, especially the Gospels. It is helpful if they also read any religious text(s) from any other faith tradition they are called to.
We are not here to worship and serve anything or anyone other than the Creator.
It is essential that people do not confuse themselves with God. We are the creation, not the creator. We have within us the light of God. This does not make us God.
There is no leader. Everybody takes turns. This is a journey together.
We are all walking up this mountain together, and we are here to encourage each other and point out things along the way. This includes butterflies as well as rocks. (beauty as well as danger)
It may help to have certain items as part of the worship service. But these things must not be venerated. They are reminders or signifiers. They point toward the truth, but they are not the truth. These things could include candles, incense, icons, or bells for instance. We are corporal beings, and sometimes we need corporal ways to access the spirit.
The goal is for each person to awaken to their own divine nature, and then take that awareness out. Each person is the Buddha, each person is the Christ. Each person, once awakened then needs to make that nature visible through action. How do we bring healing to the world?
Love made visible. Social action.
Go have a walk afterwards, and then have lunch together. It is important to get exercise, and it is important to share food together. It is what Jesus did with the disciples, so it is what we should do. If the group goes out to eat, be sure to be nice to the waitress and tip well. So many Sunday patrons are really rude to the staff. “How you treat the least of these…” didn’t get into their heads. If you are rude to the staff, then you didn’t hear the message. You are reflecting badly on God and His followers.
How you act reflects on God. Watch yourself at all times. How would I act if this person were Jesus?
Encourage exercise – walking, yoga, water aerobics, whatever.
Encourage creativity – painting, embroidery, beading, writing, whatever.
Encourage prevention rather than cure.