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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Church Outside the Walls

I'm in a weird spot right now.  Sometimes fantasizing about pushing the "pause" button but also wishing "fast forward" was an option.

Last Sunday, some friends hosted a picnic for our family to spend some time together before we go.
The weather was perfect. There were TONS of kids, lots of food, and I felt so contented just looking out at the people that God has put in our lives.  We have done nothing to deserve such supportive, precious friends.  He's just good like that!  I strive to BE as good of a friend to others as these faithful ones are to me.

Our house has been officially "on the market" for just over a week and we're preparing for our fifth showing in just a couple of hours.

Yesterday, our one and only public schooled son said "goodbye" to his friends and teachers. He will begin homeschooling on Monday. I have wanted this for a long time but had no real reason to force him to come home.  He was doing fine and he loves his friends.

I knew he was sad when he came in the door yesterday.  He didn't want to eat immediately after school like he usually does.  He was very quiet in the car as we had to vacate due to a showing.
We decided to go to Wendy's for a frosty,  the whole family.  When just he and I were at the table, I put my arm around him and asked
"Are you okay?".
He said "I might cry".   And he did.
It breaks my heart because he has suffered the most loss in his life of all of my children. I know it hits him hard that this chapter in his life is closed.
I assured him that we will get him together with his school friends very soon.
And I will.
This is a child for whom broken promises have characterized his early years. He still doubts, I think.
 But when I remind him that our move means he gets his Kuya, his big brother, full time, he perks up and eats a baconator, fries, frosty and part of my food.

I mentioned in an earlier post that we had to leave our church of three years (due to some serious integrity issues in leadership) and that whole ordeal comes back and washes over me every now and then.  We have a little of that vagabond feeling as we are terminal "visitors" at churches.
It's tiring and I'm just sad.  Sad and a little mad.

How much do we get involved? We're moving.
How much should we invest? We're burned and cynical.
Do we "join" somehwhere? Start going to a small group?
I think "no" and sometimes I think "never again".

I see why people gravitate to home churches with just a few families.  
But we are part of the People of God and we need to not forsake the assembling.
The Bible says that for a reason and that is the ONLY reason I am rising and going these days.
But it's reason enough.
He said it. We must do it.

I don't ever want to become one of those bitter old ladies who refuses to join a church because "someone said something that hurt my feelings 35 years ago".
But gosh, dangit . . . I'm starting to understand those old ladies a little better.  A lot better.

And that is why I have taken to calling my friends my "church outside the walls".  They minister to us and encourage.  They serve us and let us serve them. We talk about the things of God and what we are learning in our Bible studies and it feels more like "church" than "church" does.  

It's hard to imagine leaving the country like this.  But it's even harder to imagine staying.

So I want to thank my friends and family loud and proud . . .
our Church Outside the Walls.
I'm so thankful for that little catchphrase. It's a sweet reminder that we aren't wayfarers.
We are surrounded, protected, and we belong somewhere.


  1. Excellent points. Admittedly, I connect better with God's people at times when I'm not in a service. A church service is where we corporately connect with God and His church, but it is beyond those walls where relationships are built and sustained.

  2. Is it possible that church has been miss-defined? Authentic community where the "one anothers" are the primary function of the church seems to be what the scriptures teach. The verse in Hebrews you mentioned is literally translated: "Don't forsake the fellowship we have among ourselves." The idea of a formal assemble is absent in the Greek thought there and everywhere else in NT scripture. The meaning there reflects the same essence as when Jesus said that "Where two or three come together in my name (nature)there am I in the midst of them."

    1. Excellent thoughts to consider, David. I thank you for taking the time to read and respond.
      I find I am being led along those very lines.

  3. Interestingly, I had no idea "church outside the walls" is a documentary series ...I thought it was just a logical moniker for any group of believers fellow shipping outside the confines of the building.
    I'm going to investigate a little more...