Noisy Church

by Pam Tinsley

The church I attend is a “noisy church.” When worshipping in the church, we can easily hear voices from the narthex. Sunday school classes meet in the parish hall directly beneath the church, and we often hear our children’s “joyful noise”. Our church is also located on a busy street corner, not far from a fire station, so that during a service, if you don’t hear a group of motorcycles roaring by, you’ll hear the siren of an ambulance responding to someone in need!

This all used to bother me until I realized that this noise – and seeming distraction – is actually a good reminder of where we are called to be – that we find Jesus out in the noisy, messy world, not simply in the peaceful tranquility of a sacred worship space.

And isn’t that really where church should be? Jesus calls us to be his followers. He calls us to learn from him and then to act, to be like him: to heal, to serve, to feed his sheep. Instead of remaining entirely separate, we – the church – are called to respond to people, to reach out to others, to be in the world. As much as we might like to remain inside the walls of the church, Jesus sends us out to serve as his body in the world.

Our “noisy church” is a good reminder, then, that our ministry as baptized Christians takes place whenever and wherever we intentionally listen to God and ask, “What is God doing here, right now, that I can join?”  Jesus sends us to live into our baptism in our daily lives. We transform our ordinary occupations into Christian vocation by becoming Christ-centered in our actions and words – even if we are not speaking direct words of evangelism.

Now, the challenge is to live that out every day, intentionally, in the midst of our noisy lives, on the noisy street corner – which may be your own home, the grocery store, or in your workplace! That’s where Jesus is!

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