Church is an odd word to me. Church is a noun used to describe things that occupy space. Church is a building for public worship. Church is the public worship of God or a religious service in the church building. Church is the body (parts or the lump sum) of worshippers gathered or not gathered in the church building. Church is clergy and laity alike. Church is church.
Is church contingent upon the church building? I want to look at the Greek word “κυριακόν” [kyriakon] which means “thing belonging to the Lord.” Many Christian worshipping communities were called kyriakon, especially in the eastern part of the Christian world. Kyriakon is a precursor to what we call church today.
A kyriakon would be the place where believers would gather and worship God. In the early church the kyriakon was largely in peoples homes. The places they dwelled doubled as the place they connected to the divine. There is little division between divine & secular space. You must orient your life around how and when you worship.
I look at this as the crock pot Christian life. Just like cooking with a crock pot when you worship and gather in the same space as you live everything is all mixed together. Your personal hygiene is all mixed in with your spiritual disciplines as much as the peas and carrots are dwelling in and with the chicken and broth. You cannot easily separate the contents of a crock pot.
Church has become for many in Christendom a thing to do on Sunday. I do not know many Christians that have a worship space in their homes let alone invite others to their homes to worship. Most of us go away to worship and connect with God and others.
Faded has the intimacy of dwelling in the divine via your mundane tasks of living. Our kyriakon is a destination rather than a residence. What does this say about how we relate to God or who we are in light of God? How do we orient our lives in service to God and each other? To whom are we responsible to and for?
Recently, Glenn Beck has offered that social justice is a guise for socialism. Socialism has become a dirty word in many circles. I wonder if one can be Christian and not be a socialist. The Sermon on the Mount [Matthew 5-7] paints a picture that turns the normative life upside down. Jesus calls us to not embrace any human division. Jesus blesses the poor and calls us to reach out in to the margins and be justice makers. We are to be the hands, hearts, and will of Jesus’ reconciling nature to others.
This is what kyriakon is about. If we connect align ourselves with that which belongs to the Lord then we too belong to the Lord and all that we seek. Social justice is but an extension of that mandate to love our neighbor as ourselves. Justice arrives to all when the least of us has the essentials to flourish as a human being.
Let the places we dwell in be places of worship. Places that house responsible habits of sustainable living. Let our lives be worshipful experiences that draw us all nearer to God. It is my prayer for this community that we can no longer separate the secular and Holy worlds as we seek to dwell and worship in the same space as we live out our faith and call in Jesus the Christ and be agents of justice to the marginalized and oppressed.