Thursday, September 13, 2012

Big church in a big city.

Here we are, for what feels like the twentieth time.

Church shopping.

In our seven years of marriage, we've moved a lot, which has necessitated pulling up roots and putting down new ones in each area. And as we figure out where to buy groceries and how to get to the bank in each new town, we also find ourselves looking for a new church. I guess you'd say I'm picky, but the decision is important to me. Any church we choose has to be passionate about following Jesus, clinging to the Bible as truth, and serving the world in the name of Christ. As our family desires to walk in step with Jesus more and more, we know we need strong faith community to walk alongside us to have any hope of growth.

 And it helps if the people there are friendly.

I've often found church to be a relational lifeline for me. And as I've just moved to a place where I no NO ONE, I'm hopeful to find fellowship and community and maybe even a few friends with kids.

We're praying for guidance as we step out and try a few places.

This past Sunday, we tried one out.  We all, including my mom, got up and dressed.  We buckled Caroline into her "buggy" and walked the 10 minutes to the Tube station.  An hour later, after changing trains once and hefting the buggy up a bunch of stairs, we found ourselves on Tottenham Court Road at a theater that, most nights, hosts We Will Rock You, a West End musical based on the songs of Queen.  Random, huh?

We walked in late, of course, and found ourselves looking for seats along the back of the balcony.  As we looked unsuccessfully for three seats together, I was struck by my fellow congregants.  Old and young.  Preppy and grunge.  But most of all, racially diverse.

I have never, in all my years of Sunday morning church and Thursday night Bible study and what have you, been a part of such a richly diverse group of people in a Christian setting.  The people at this church were clearly from every part of the world, from South Africa to Cambodia to the European continent to Canada.  Each one of them there out of desire to get to know Jesus better.

It was so amazing to see, because although I know I serve the God of the entire world, it gets easy sometimes to fit Him into a box of white middle class American church.  But He's so much bigger than that, so much more incredibly powerful and gracious, and so very loving toward every corner of this planet, His creation.

I took Caroline to the nursery after the music ended, and stayed with her until she got comfortable with her surroundings.  As more and more tots filed in, I was struck again by the variety of ethnicities demonstrated in the faces of the little ones.  They all had name stickers attached to backs of their clothes, and I so enjoyed seeing each one.  Let's just say they didn't all sound quite like Caroline Brown.

We don't know if we'll continue to attend that church.  It's an amazing option and I'm thankful for it.  However, whichever one we choose, I'm hopeful that we'll see more of God's love of all sorts of nations wherever we attend.  I can only imagine what our family might learn from people who are also following Jesus, but come from very different backgrounds and cultures. 

It's really exciting.  Praise Jesus.

And, wouldn't you know it, I met another mom of little ones who moved here from Canada, and she invited Caroline and I over for coffee (with REAL cream, which is hard to find) next week.  She promised to give me the lowdown on life in the UK.  One more blessing.  I'm thankful.



Mary Kate said...

Hooray!!! We miss you. I'm so encouraged that things are off to a good start. I love you so much and please keep posting when you have time!!


Risheill Adventures said...

I am so jealous right now. We dream of visiting a Hillsong church! That is so awesome! Glad you were able to meet some new people as well! :)

Ali said...

How cool!!!