My (poor) attempt to articulate a view of church I believe holds promise for us to consider. I set it in suburbia, but you can adjust it for your own setting.
I Have a Dream . . . er, well, a Picture, or at least a Hint, of What a Church Should Be (with grateful apologies to Martin Luther King, Jr.)
I see a gathering in a neighborhood,
folks of every age and kind,
living, loving, and longing
for God’s kingdom to come
now as it already is in heaven.
I see this gathering in their dozens,
(no great horde they),
living small, slow, and in sync
with the Spirit’s enabling of God’s will
for human life.
Yeast in the loaf,
they influence by presence and relationship,
living their hearts in attitudes and actions
that struggle and long for peace and justice
in the sidewalks and crevices of everyday life.
Life and faith are one there.
They go nowhere else to be religious
with others they don’t share life.
Called to be God in their place,
they aim to live lives so freely and fully human
that God can’t help but be seen among them.
Freely and fully human, you say?
Simplicity and sharing mark all their ways.
Availability to and liability for others hallmark
the friendship they offer one and all.
They meet in homes and halls, eat together often,
Digest the Word in Spirit-led conversation,
pray and fast for guidance and strength.
All human need is their concern,
for God is a God of abundant life for all.
The Living Word is the Bread of Life
for now and then, for body and soul, for heart and mind.
Bearing gifts, a bath and a meal, a touch and a tale,
they invite all to belong and all who belong
they call to give all for others and God’s kingdom.
Equipped with God’s armor,
they see in the human face of opponents
hapless people in bondage to false spirits and powers
of violence and greed, victimizing others with their hurt and need.
They stand with those thus burdened, with tears and with hope,
Forgiving, reconciling, turning enemies to friends,
suffering, and serving, portending the End.
They are the church, this kind of folk,
honeycombed through neighborhoods and communities,
not ballyhooed by the media or much known by the powers,
doing the “grunt work” of caring in life’s nooks and crannies.
They’re the church I see, when to day dreams I turn.
But can “they” become “us”? Can we be real?
Please God it be so! Please God it be so!