It was Ash Wednesday and there were seven of us gathered in a living room, reading scripture, and praying in earnest for our community.
It was Good Friday and there were 14 of us eating dinner together and reading through the familiar story at the downtown market.
It was Sunday morning and there were around 50 of us gathered in a hotel event space sharing in worship and communion.
These are not the scenes of church I grew up knowing. Church is supposed to happen in a building we call a church, right? But this is what a church plant looks like. This is the disruption of my routines that my walk with Jesus needed.
I have spent my whole life going to church. It was very normal and incredibly important, but it also sometimes felt monotonous. It turned into the cliché “going through the motions.”
When we began coming to City Chapel it felt different. This is a place that isn’t bound by the phrase, “this is how we have always done it” because frankly, they have never done it before. There is freedom to take the normal Lenten practices outside of a church sanctuary, partially because we don’t have one. There is freedom to question the why behind normal church practices. There is freedom to be more than a congregation member, instead becoming a part owner of the experience, helping shape what this community looks like.
I am by no means saying that routine and tradition are bad things. They can bring a lot of richness to our lives. However, I think we all need moments where we ask why questions. Why do we do it this way? Is there a different way we can be doing this? Are we unintentionally putting up barriers to others because of how we do church? I think just saying, “because we have always done it this way” is not an acceptable answer and we need to strive for better. We need to disrupt the routine every once in a while to discover the real heart behind it.
I think Jesus was in the business of disruption. When the adults asked him about faith, he turned to the children as an example. When his disciples sat down to dinner, he did a servant’s job and washed their feet. When he needed leaders, he turned to the overlooked and forgotten. When he was put on trial, he stayed quiet. When everyone thought that death had won, he got up and made breakfast.
The gospel is real and gritty. This story we love happened on dusty roads and in people’s homes. It happened on stormy waters and over dinner with friends. It is not something that needs to be protected, but instead is something that can withstand the doubts, questions, and messiness of real people. While it is alive in the buildings we call church, it is not contained there. It should be disrupting and engaging every part of life, not just an hour on Sunday.
So here I am, happily living in this season of disruption. Allowing my faith to become a part of my every day. Allowing the gospel to become real and alive to me again. Asking the whys and striving for better.
Written by Elizabeth Bosscher