Space Use & Popsicles

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TRUE STORY:

Last day of my senior year in high school, my friend John and I submitted our final project to our art teacher, Mrs. Swanson. It was the biggest popsicle stick house you would have ever seen.

Glorious.

Spectacular.

And also missing a roof.

We lied and told Mrs. Swanson the roof wasn’t complete because we wanted to provide a birds-eye view into the house. The reality was that we bought out the entire popsicle stick inventory within a forty-mile radius and ran out of materials.

John and I were proud of what we had built, but we also recognized we had just invested one-thousand-nine-hundred-and-thirty-two minutes building a house with hot glue and popsicle sticks so came to terms that a passing grade would suffice. Mrs. Swanson talked for a few minutes, but only one remark will I remember forever:

What good is a house if all it is is empty space?

You see, we built a house, but we fell short on building a home. We had walls and ceilings, a roof (half a roof) and a foundation, but no furniture. No life. No energy. No activities. No people!

What good is a house if all it is is empty space?

The Church is not a space. It’s not a building. We are the Church.

Yes, I get that.

And also…

I see too many church houses and not enough church homes. Too much empty space, sitting underutilized all days but Sundays. I’m curious what Jesus might remark about this, believing he, too, might offer something new.

Think of all the beautiful things we could do with our church spaces? All the beautiful expressions of love for our neighbors.

I’m thinking of homeless shelters and youth hubs and early education centers and mini-medical clinics and transitional housing units and dignified food shelves and art exhibits and training centers and community collaboratives offering affordable legal support, documentation assistance, mental health services, a warm bed or hot shower or good cup of hot coffee. I’m thinking of event centers, commercial kitchens for food entrepreneurs, indoor play areas for toddlers or co-working collectives for folks who simply want a day out of their house.

And more…so much more….

We have enough houses. Together, friends, let’s build some more homes.

Have a great week, friends!