The Bed Sheet Chapel

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “Church” as we understand it… I said in Tuesday’s post that nights with my friends felt more like church to me than any actual church service. As I’ve pondered it, I realize that has been an ongoing pattern in my life for quite some time. Church, as it’s commonly thought of, has always felt a little…alien to me. Foreign. I’ve found that in most churches it’s a struggle to graduate from just another face to a name.

In 2004 a band called “Cool Hand Luke” released an album called “The Fires of Life”. I loved the album intently, and listened to it constantly. But, as happens when one binges on music, there comes a day when you just don’t care to listen to it anymore. I hit that point, and moved on. I went to Johnson, met Leah, started dating, and didn’t so much drop out as I meandered vaguely downwards.

Years later, Leah and I were still dating and I stumbled over “The Fires of Life” again. I gave it another listen, and was amazed to see that in the intervening time my life had changed enough that one of the songs I used to skip suddenly was filled with life. The song is called “Friendly Jas”. I may have mentioned it on here before, because the song became the theme song of sorts for my relationship with Leah… So much so she walked down the aisle to it on our wedding day:

It was a blessed day–
The day that I met you
Though at the time
I didn’t have a clue

As iron sharpens iron so does one man another
And that’s what God intended us to do (Psalm 27:17)
Flowers fall and seasons change (Isaiah 40:8)
And you know how we treat the rain

In times of drought we pray it comes
And when it falls we turn and run
The moon is new, you’ve left your seat (I Samuel 20:18)
The time has come to go in peace (I Samuel 20:42)

With my own hand the bow was strung
The arrow shot now falls beyond (I Samuel 20:36)
I thank my God for every (Philippians 1:3)
Memory of you
The lessons learned and
The way the Spirit moved

I remember hearing “church is more than just a building”
I remember when we proved it true
Flowers fall and seasons change
And you know how we treat the rain
In times of drought we pray it comes

And when it falls we turn and run
The moon is new; you’ve left your seat
The time has come to go in peace
With my own hand the bow was strung
The arrow shot now falls beyond

That day, I could have stared at the ocean forever
With a song for every grain beneath my feet
We were so young and brilliantly naïve
To the joy and the pain and the days that we would see

Everything has changed
But our hope remains the same
I want you to know that I’ll be here
Through a hundred years of rain
Together we run into what we do not know
Trusting our God who made tomorrow

Leah and I will have been married for four years this November. Four years have passed, and every night we end our day beneath our bed sheets and we talk. It’s not unusual for these conversations to go on for hours as we discuss everything and nothing. They happen regardless of what the morning holds… When we finally drift off at 3AM and I’m hitting the alarm to get up for work at 8, it never even occurs to me to think that my exhaustion could have been avoided.

We’ll spend minutes and sometimes hours dissecting our day, rehashing our hopes and fears for tomorrow. Huddled within our poly/cotton cocoon, the outside world completely ceases to exist and we become… centered. It puts our relationship back on the forefront of our priority list, and through talking out loud we sometimes discover patterns and ideas and foreshadowing that we would have completely missed otherwise. These conversations make me a better man than any church service I can remember… and I think that is what God intended.

I love the actual church I’ve been attending. But lately I feel like God has been opening my eyes more and more to the fact that “Church is more than just a building”. I’ve been trying to keep my eyes open, so I can spot the places where God tends to hang out… and I think He may be a lot closer than I would have guessed.


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