How do you know how to behave in church and as church? You watch what others are doing don’t you. I was in a church a while back (preaching) which had a very different tradition to the one I was used to. There was standing, sitting, kneeling, responding, singing, praying, chanting and incense waving and a couple of different books to navigate.
The problem was that I was sat right at the front on my own because I was due to preach. I was facing forward so there wasn’t anyone I could copy. My peripheral vision earned its keep that day as I strained to see what everyone else was doing. It felt very strange.
Of course that’s how lots of people see and experience church – not just the services but the whole package. We have different buildings (mostly); use different language (or when we use familiar language we might mean something different – “I’ve been washed in the blood of the lamb” might get you a visit from the RSPCA outside a church building) (or we don’t use language that is used outside church); we seem obsessed with notices (in the services and on numerous noticeboards; we say that we love everyone (and then have an unofficial list of people we don’t love); we run all sorts of activities with volunteers who work selflessly but venerate the few who are paid to be there (or pillory them)… and much more besides
It’s a miracle that anyone finds faith in Jesus through the church, isn’t it?
And the miracle happens mainly when we are ‘normal’ but offer to pray for someone in trouble. The miracle happens when we are everyday people who talk about what Jesus means to us. The miracle happens when Christians are down to earth people who have an awareness of heaven. The miracle happens when we allow his Spirit to help make us into good free samples of Jesus rather than when we are trying to be impressive churches.
Be blessed, be a blessing.