i was online this morning trying to find the time and location of the Assemblies of God church i had heard about in Southfield…

Suddenly my search was interrupted by a phone call from someone i don’t know who was facing a bit of a crisis [her son who is in South Africa has recently run into some bother and she is not in the country] and asked if we could help out. [She knew of us through a friend of a friend and we had recently offered to help if a situation like this came up].

So i jumped in my car and sped across town [and back again and across again, shtupidt gps!] and connected with the guy and brought him home…

With the moral of the story being i didn’t get to church today…

Or did i?

i didn’t really think of any of this at the time or during today, but as i sat down at my computer, this story that Jesus tells, found in Luke 10, came to mind:

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

i said to tbV as we tried to figure this out earlier today, “You know, these stories are great stories to tell, but not so much fun to work out.”

And that is the truth, because there is a cost attached. And quite possibly a sacrifice.

We don’t know why the priest and the Levite refuse to stop for the man, but there is a distinct possibility that it was because they were in a hurry – with a preach to preach or a budget meeting to facilitate or someone to visit. And yet they were presented with a need that epitomised who they were and the work they were meant to be doing, and they did everything they could to avoid it.

Helping people is messy. It doesn’t often come with a set of instructions. The right call is not necessarily obvious. Sometimes it is hard and often you have to call others for help…

For the Samaritan there was a cost of time, money and resources and he gave freely of all of them.

So while i didn’t “go to church” this morning, i did get an incredible opportunity to “church”. One of the things i spoke about at both book launches so far was the idea of moving away from church being a noun [a place we go to] and seeing it more as a verb [a description of God’s people doing God’s stuff in love].

If we do go to a place on Sunday with a specific set of people at a certain time, then the hope is that whatever happens there will fuel and encourage and challenge and teach us and empower us for the rest of the churching which happens from Monday to Saturday…

Hope you have an incredible week of church…

[For more on the book, ‘i, church’ click here]