I am an extreme introvert which means that being “out in the world” constantly being bombarded by a plethora of stimuli and being among people (even people I love being with) all week can be very exhausting. The only way to recharge is by seeking refuge in peaceful solitude – thank God for weekends! This past week was fun-filled and busy, so it was no surprise when Sunday morning my introverted nature refused to let me walk out the door to go to church. As I wondered what to do with my “recharge” day, a thought from earlier in the week resurfaced: don’t just go to church—be the church!
Let me back up for a moment. For the last month, my small group has been discussing “The Present Future: Six Tough Questions for the Church” by Reggie McNeal which has us discussing what it means to be the church. Last Monday, (the day after Easter) I saw a church sign on my way to work that read, “A Blood Donor saved my life.” Obviously, it was making a statement about Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross, but it also sparked an idea—giving blood is one way I could be the church and the church I work for was having a blood drive yesterday. I decided right then that instead of going to church—I was going to be the church by donating blood. Unfortunately, I found out later in the week that I am ineligible to donate blood at the moment.
So back to Sunday morning—what was I going to do with the beautiful day that God gave us when the nature God gave me prohibited me from going out there to enjoy it with everyone else? I didn’t want to sit around watching reruns on TV and I’ve read so many books in the last month, my eyes hurt. After some deliberation, I decided to clean out and purge my sewing room, closet, and storage area giving me the solitude I needed and the opportunity to give of myself to others by donating a car-full to Goodwill.
Now I realize that this is just a small step towards being the church, made smaller in my estimation because I actually got some chores done in the process, but it’s a start. It’s got me looking at things just a little differently and thinking about being the church. After all, being the church isn’t about gathering together so much as going out into the world to share God’s love with those who need it. Through my many struggles, God created in me a heart of mercy so I have the love. I just don’t actively seek ways to share that love with the world around me yet. I’m not looking around me and asking how can I help? My hope is that this small step is just the first movement down a road of being mission-minded in the ordinary moments of my everyday life.