This week, I used the phrase "playing church" when someone described how one of their relatives bounced between the Catholic and Lutheran church. Inside, it made me smile, because, just that morning, I had been reading about Luther and Calvin. I am sure that if the relative had a historical perspective, then they might also see how odd those choices are. However, I just made the comment that they are simply "playing church."
Matthew 3:12, the John the Baptist describes a threshing room floor, covered with wheat and all the bits of that has fallen of the wheat stalks. In this picture, Jesus is standing in the threshing room and is holding a fan that is causing the wheat and the chaff to separate. The wheat is gathered and placed inside the grainery and the chaff is burned away.
Just so that we are clear on the symbolism here: The floor is the church and only two kinds of people go to church - Wheat People and Chaff People. Chaff People think they are good with God because they go to church, live decent lives and are good citizens. However, one day, the Wheat People will be physically separated from the Chaff People.
Many times, I feel that I am eternally secure because I belong to a church. Odd that I would think that, eh? It's not a conscious thing that I think, but, my actions tell on me. You see, I have gotten the horse before the cart so to speak. My focus has shifted ever so slightly from Jesus over to a building. It seems natural: I do not physically see Jesus day to day, but, I see my church several times a week. My mind becomes focused on the here and now. My mind becomes focused on the work. And sometimes, I just go on auto-pilot. I show up, pull out my trombone and just play. No worship, just notes, intonation and rhythms. So, who is playing church now?
Ga 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.