Is This the Church?

Look right through those stained glass windows.
Look beyond those heavy wooden doors.
Look above that towering steeple spire.
Is this the church or is there more?

Look behind the curtained baptistry.
Look beneath the pulpit furniture.
Look above the rows of organ pipes.
Is this the church or is there more?

Oh, the church isn’t found within.
No, the church isn’t bound within these four walls.

About this Song:
[Note: In the original version of this song, I used “beyond” in the first three lines of each stanza. I’ve since changed that to “through, beyond, above” and “behind, beneath, above” for greater variety. Take your pick.]

This song may not describe your church–it doesn’t describe mine, either–but I believe it’s a far too accurate portrait of many contemporary churches that get so caught up in the fancy trappings that they lose track of what’s really important: the lost people outside their doors. Lost people who may not feel welcome or comfortable in grandeur.

Especially if the membership is so focused on itself that it fails to look beyond and outside itself to meet the needs of outsiders, welcome them, and invite them to become insiders.

King David wanted to build the temple in Jerusalem as God’s earthly dwelling place, but the Lord said no. David’s history of violence made him an inappropriate choice. Instead, his son Solomon would be allowed to carry out David’s dream.

But that didn’t stop David from stockpiling materials for the work Solomon would carry out. Only the finest of materials would do. After all, this would be the House of God, and God deserved the best man was capable of doing.

Solomon took over this project when he became king, and the temple he built would make even the fanciest of today’s chuches look like ramshackle sheds in comparison.

God respected and blessed the temple and accepted it as his earthly dwelling place. He commanded his people to come there to make sacrifices for their sins. God truly inhabited Solomon’s Temple.

But did you notice one particular thing in the previous paragraph? Even today, we tend to refer to it as “Solomon’s temple.” Not God’s.

Is that the problem with today’s fancy churches? Have those congregations failed to place their buildings in God’s hands? And have they so badly dishonored Him by ignoring the people outside that He refuses to inhabit those buildings?

That’s something to think about. If you have something to add, please leave a comment.

Free lead sheets (lyrics, tune, and chords) are available for many of my songs. Click on the Lead Sheets tab at the top of this page to see whether one is available for this song. Videos for many of my songs, some recorded at home and some at our church’s nursing home ministry, can be accessed at my website, RogerBruner.com, under the Listen tab.

Look for me again next Wednesday. Better still, subscribe to receive these weekly posts by email.

Best regards,
Roger

Links you might be interested in:

 

 

About Roger E. Bruner

Seventy-four-year-old Roger E. Bruner is the author and publisher of eighteen Christian novels and the writer of more than two hundred Christian songs and choruses, a handful of musical dramas, and a number of shorter works. He sings, plays guitar and bass, and records his original songs in his home studio. He will be active in his church's nursing home ministry again when circumstances permit and in the church choir when it starts up again. In the meantime he'll keep playing bass on the praise team. Married for seventeen years to Kathleen, he has one grown daughter. Kathleen has two. Roger enjoys reading, moderate exercise, photography and book cover design (he's done all of his own except for Rosa No-Name), playing Snood, making walking sticks, and complaining about the state of the nation while continuing to pray for it.
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