Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cafe Church

to right you see a cafe, to the left kid's play area
Just one week ago I attended church in Havirov, Czech Republic.

The church rents a room they've converted into a cafe-slash-kid play area.

From what I could gather they use the room all week long as a local hangout for the neighborhood and on Sunday mornings hold a service.
Pastor Michal was thrilled to show off the garden, or back yard, of the building as they've cleaned up a very large lot, added a sandbox and tables in effort to gather families and enhance the neighborhood.

It was really cool.

Immediately upon entering the building I felt like I was in my element.
All gathered in one place?
Yeah, I could move my entire office and parent education program right in and feel right at home.
The service was casual. People came dressed in jeans and comfy sweaters wrapped in scarves. Parents brought children. Kids ran in and out. Coffee cups clanged and chairs scraped the floor as people moved about.

It was so irreverent.

Or not.

I loved the experience despite what my Midwestern, American mind tells me is the "correct way" to hold a church service.

Because as a modern day woman who tries her best to be a follower of Jesus, I find that the stories of  Christ find him in similar, informal situations rather than dressed to impress, two hour Sunday morning services with full band worship and neatly packaged sermons with three points and an alter call.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
I believe believers should gather.
I love music
and I love to be inspired.

These are all good things.
But they are not the only things. With or without music I like. With or without a message in my language. With or without what I think are elements of a "good church service" I should be able to worship.

Because if my relationship with God is ever only based on what happens in a service or my religious traditions I fear I'm missing the point.

It was a joy to witness the Havirov church service.
To be a part of something different.
I stood and worshipped, surrounded by people who spoke another language.

I couldn't have had a conversation with them if I wanted.

But as we stood, together, it was clear we had gathered for the purpose of worshipping.
Every difference fell aside as we brought our attention and voices together
in His name.
I've never been in a more beautiful church service.
Latte and all.

(p.s. check back this week as I'll blog more stories from my trip)

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