In an effort to be more healthy, I try to ride my bicycle on a somewhat regular basis. Sometimes I ride the country roads outside town. Sometimes I ride around town on the village streets. Many times I’ve passed by this sign in town over the spring and summer months and it’s brought a smile to face. I know the message the Methodists who used to worship in the old brick building on Main Street which this marque stands in front of were intending to communicate. They now worship in their new church building just outside the city limits and have sold the old church building (which I believe is being converted into apartments). “Come join us at our new location,” but there’s no indication where the new worship facility is located.
I get a chuckle out of the marque because I can see other unintended meanings in the message displayed.
- Perhaps the members of the Methodist Church decided, as a whole community, to disband and “move on” to a new denomination. Have they become Baptist or Episcopalian or Presbyterian? I know they didn’t become Catholic because I haven’t had any new members join St. Mary Church where I’m pastor in town.
- Perhaps they’ve been raptured and have joined the church eternal in heaven. If that’s the case, we’re “left behind” and in trouble!
- Perhaps they’ve are exploring a new model of church, without walls and defined rituals and other traditional definitions of what makes a church?
Oh, where are the Methodists? They’ve moved and I wonder where they’ve gone.
Then another thought occurs to me. Shouldn’t every church be “on the move?”
Church should not be a place where you sit on your rear end in the pew and relax. By it’s nature as the manifestation of the Body of Christ, a church shares in His mission to proclaim the Gospel in word and action. A church, no matter what denomination, is to move out into the world from its worship on Sunday, renewed in its image as Body of Christ and work to redeem humanity through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy; Feed the hungry, cloth the naked, comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, all the while proclaiming that God’s desire for a reconciled humanity is revealed in the risen Jesus.
Shouldn’t every church be “on the move?”
We church people can never be satisfied with where we are at in our relationship with the Lord Jesus and on our journey to the fullness of the Kingdom of God. We’re all imperfect in our daily revealing of the presence of Christ in the world. We church people sin, letting selfishness occasionally rule our lives instead of modeling our lives on the crucified one we claim to reveal in our life of mission. Each day of a Christian’s life is another chance to “move” from self-centered self-preservation to a more perfect living of discipleship, open to trusting God’s promises and proclaiming Good News by our lives. We are a people who are to be constantly seeking to reform (re-shape and turn our lives around and get them on the right path). From the Catholic point of view, you don’t experience conversion of heart just once in your life at baptism or an “altar-call.” A Catholic Christian (as well as all disciples of Jesus) are called to commit him or herself to a life of daily conversion of heart. Over and over again, we are to turn toward the Lord Jesus and away from sin, from death to life. In other words, we are a church on the move toward realizing the Kingdom in this world eventually arriving at the fullness of the Reign of God in heaven (after our death and at the end of the age). We should always be moving to become a new church, more perfectly revealing the risen one than we did the day before and the one before that.