Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Sacramental Significance of a Cluster of Shoes

Another post on house churches.

In my view, it is better for churches to meet in homes, as the earliest Christians did. I believe that provides a much deeper level of intimacy and fellowship.

Naturally, a home which hosts church meetings would be wise to have a shoes-off rule, to protect the carpet or flooring from the tread of a large number of visitors. If so, I think the large collection of shoes by the door could have an almost sacramental significance reflecting the truth of the church's nature and purpose.

The church, body of Christ, is a people who experience unity in diversity. We are called out of all nations, ethnic groups and peoples. We come from all walks of life, rich and poor, working class and middle class. Males and females are equally valued (or should be) in the church. All ages have a part to play in the rich tapestry of the church of God, in displaying the light of His grace. Each member has his or her own distinct gift and contribution to the life of the church.

The cluster of shoes at the door would reflect that wonderful diversity. We would see the tiny shoes of a child, and the much larger shoes of her father. We would see the shiny brogues of a businessman and the sandals of a student. We would see the sporty trainers of a young man and the sensible velcro-strapped shoes of a more senior man. We might see ethnic diversity; the elegant heels of a French school teacher and the flip flops of a Filipino nurse. We might see the two pairs of shoes of a newly married couple set closely together by the door.

Shoes in all different shapes and sizes, relecting the diversity of the church. Yet all are removed and left by the door, for the owners have come together to worship and to share in the fellowship of the body of Christ.

Okay, I am a theologian who has done a PhD on the subject of the ecclesiology, so I am bound to write stuff like this.

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