Monday, July 28, 2008

Pink and Blue Chairs

Pink and blue camp chairs changed my life......

I know...very strange you say, well, if you've got a minute, here's the story...or at least part of it.

Some years ago, not too long after we had departed from the traditional church world, we stumbled upon a lovely group of people who amazingly enough, all wanted the same thing we did in our Christian experience...reality in Jesus Christ.
God led us to them and that is a story for another day...but today I will tell you a bit about how we achieved the impossible...we explored and experienced real church life, just as you imagine it to be from reading the book of Acts and we did it together with this group of people.

We did it from those pink and blue chairs...

The very first corporate thing we did together was to throw out the Sunday church service...we moved the meetings to Sat. and Tues nights...then we added different kinds of meetings...song meetings..picnic meetings...brothers meetings, sisters meetings...business meetings (yuck!)
We went along like this for a while and God said it was good.
Then one day we decided that this wasn't enough...we could hear our Lord calling us onward, we couldn't really get to know Him sitting in a pew...so what could we do next to make our relationships with Him and within the body more real?
We felt we should erase the line between clergy and laity and become simply brothers and sisters....so we decided to push back all the pews and sit on the floor...except that didn't go over so well for very long with the, shall I say, grownups in the group...that's when we decided to purchase the chairs. They would be low enough to the ground to keep the playing field leveled yet comfortable and portable for the variery of meetings we were enjoying.

And so the pink and blue camp chairs came into our lives...
and God said it was good!

And boy did they change things too!

Suddenly people spoke up in meetings, those who had never done so before started songs or prayed aloud. People asked questions and answered them, they laughed outloud in meetings, some took off their shoes while others told them to put them on again. The casualness of life invaded our church and we became family.
Everywhere we went as a church, those chairs went with us. To conferences and potlucks, to campouts and bible study, to backyard barbecues and baptisms, literally everywhere.
When the pushed back pew set up was no longer cutting it we discussed moving together into a neighborhood so we could spend more time together loving our Lord in daily life...eventually some moved...some didn't...but one weekend we planned an experiment...we held an entire weekend of meetings, meals and fun in the neighborhood some had moved to...and eveyone else was to come for the weekend, to stay and eat and sleep over. It was an experiment in community. How would this lifestyle work? could it work? Would we love it? or hate it? did we need it or could we live without it? That weekend everyone came...we all piled into the few homes already available in the neighborhood, kids, bibles, casseroles and all. Then we walked between the homes for every meal, meeting and event. Everywhere we traveled during the weekend...we brought our bibles, our song books and our chairs. We set up shop wherever we happend to be and church life sprang up among us. Then we knew it...this was no longer optional, we needed this kind of church and each other, daily, to see our Lord more fully. This became our lifestyle...brothers and sisters living and loving Him together and God said it was very good.
For the next several years we grew up there in the church and in the Lord and some of the dearest saints in this world sat next to me in those pink and blue camp chairs. ..

A few years ago, and many miles down the road, with our own two chairs in tatters, I was forced to make the very difficult decision to throw them out. It was in effect the end of an era, the end of innocence perhaps, the end of so much.
And though time marches on and I no longer have the luxury of seeing saints outside my door on a daily basis...I will never regret nor forget, nor recover and I do not wish to. In this environment our lives were turned upside down and melted together in ways beyond imagining, not just for this lifetime but for all eternity.

Who would have ever thought it could all begin with pink and blue camp chairs?

14 comments:

Deborah and Sally said...

Lovely, truly lovely !

Deborah

everydayRANDOM said...

I hear you...after starting a church with 13 people in my family room, I certainly understand that God can make magic with very little. We hauled everything to the local grade school every weeks for a long time. It was fun when we were 100 but He had other plans. Now we are 1500+ and not so fun but if it is His Will, I will come along. Our old stuff wore out long ago but I still miss it and always will. I am so thankful that we were able to be a part of it. So thankful...

Bill said...

I actually teared up when you said y'all threw out those tattered chairs. Thanks for posting this, Cheryl.

You never know what the future may hold...

amy said...

Amazing story. Little is much when God is in it. :) Blessings to you.

Margie said...

what a great life experience!!!

Gina said...

I've thought about how far the traditional church has strayed from the way it was in Paul's day. I wonder how much of it God is pleased with and I wonder if he longs for us to get back to meeting as those early churches did. This is why I'm glad we've found our life group -- it feels more like a church is supposed to I believe. Great story!

BekABoo said...

Did you stumble across that old, faded pink chair cleaning out the garage? :)

Mrs. Mac said...

What an experience! This would so work for me. I have resisted big church for the past nine months because it's just not a good fit with our special needs kiddo. I finally went alone on Sunday while dh watched Nathan. Juggling two services ...and not going together is the pits. Why not have church in our living room and include Nathan, eh? Did you really get rid of the chairs?

Goody said...

Thanks Cheryl for sharing your experience. I never lose hope even though I often find myself in a state of bittersweetness.

Tammy said...

What an incredible amazing story...God can use anything...even pink and blue camp chairs. It's amazing to me how God works, breaks us out of our box (or pews) and pushes us to be more for Him. Thanks for sharing your story.

Kim said...

Thanks for the story Cheryl. It truly is a life worth everything.

Joni said...

Isn't it amazing the ways God uses different people and situations to draw us to Himself?

Thanks for sharing your memories!

Vicki said...

I think you experienced the reality of "ecclesia" more than many get at church these days. What sweet fellowship! The fact that so many were freed up to pray out loud really touched me. I'd love to see more of this. The institutionalized church has really strayed from its roots, sadly.

Hope to see you soon! Maybe this week?

Anonymous said...

Hey, gili sent me this. Well said. I remember walking up the street one one day during that time and thinking, "this is a very special time in life". What a wonderful experience to take with us as we all continue our journey through life.