Wednesday, May 17, 2006

like it used to be

“Remember back when you didn’t have to lock churches? The town was safe; people didn’t lock their houses at night. I tell you, the world is getting worse!”

Who hasn’t had one of those conversations? I catch them about once a week. Sure, there are things I miss about “yesteryear” or “back in the day,” but, let’s face it, we can’t go back.

I’m sure one of the reasons churches did not use to worry about locking their doors during the week was that they didn’t have thousands of dollars worth of audio and video equipment in them.

Here is the angle I hadn’t thought of on this topic. Since Churches used to remain unlocked and available, people could, at any time of day or night, let themselves in and pray. Churches are no longer available in this way. Is this contributing to the further downfall of morality and decency?

Should church buildings, especially the sanctuaries, be available for prayer and meditation for the passer-by, or for anyone who wants to find God’s presence?

My first reaction to this is to say that God is no more available in a church building than anywhere else. If the church has been presenting itself as the source and location of God’s presence, we need to adjust that.

A church building is not the location of the presence of God. God will (and wants to) meets you wherever you are.

On the other hand: Christians, we should take seriously that people around us somehow identify the place where we meet with the presence of God. Are we ready and willing to consciously carry the presence of God with us for others?


At 4:45 AM, Blogger J. Scott McKay said...

The cynical side of me says that the ones we are wary of in the daylight are not nearly as worrisome as the ones we don't see after dark. I remember many times finding students I had never met praying in the SFA Wesley Chapel. I like to think its being open all the time has helped thousands of students for more than 50 years find comfort and direction in their lives.

At 12:05 PM, Blogger DannyG said...

I know that I have gone in the past to a chapel during some dark hours of my soul. Although I know (and knew) that God was available anyplace, the nature of the chapel was comforting and focusing. I suppose that, where archetecture permits, having an open chapel would be a wonderful form of ministry. (of course, these days things like lawyers and insurance providers rear their ugly heads).

At 2:28 PM, Blogger lr said...

The chapel at my university is open 24/7, and I am very often glad of the fact as I find myself utilizing it at very odd hours. It's nice to have a quiet, reverent place to go to when I want some time alone with God.


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