Sometimes products sold on the market have really appropriate names. “Slap Ya Mama” comes to mind.
Slap Ya Mama is a Cajun seasoning produced in…you guessed it…Louisiana. I’ve never actually tried it, but I have a picture of my youngest granddaughter holding a can of it. I’m guessing my son got a kick out of the name—hence the photo. (Can’t say as I blame him.)
If it’s anything like its name, you probably feel like you got slapped in the face when you eat some of it. I know if I’d ever slapped my Mama, I would have gotten my face smacked pretty hard and quickly thereafter.
Not everything has such a descriptive and appropriate name, however. Take the word “church” for example. That’s a really lousy name for the building you head off to every Sunday. I know I’ve talked about this before, but it definitely bears repeating.
The word we translate from the Greek into the English word “church” is ecclesia. Ecclesia was a general term used for a public gathering or assembly. It literally means the called out ones or called together ones.
“Instead of being the church, we went to church.”
Thus the church, Biblically speaking, was a group of people called together out of the world in the name of Jesus. Every time that word is used in Scripture, it is in reference to a group of people.
Somewhere along the way, we began to build buildings specifically as a place for the church to gather. They were places of sanctuary where the church would pray, worship and study the Bible together. That’s one of the reasons why we use the term, sanctuary, for the room in which we worship. It’s literally a sanctuary from the storms of life.
Eventually, local congregations began to be identified with their places of worship. Instead of the people being called the church, the building got that moniker. So instead of being the church, we went to the church.
Think about it. When you’re speaking to someone about your faith, it’s not uncommon to ask them where they “go to church.” We don’t use the term in an appropriate manner. If we did, we would ask them if they were part of a church. When’s the last time you heard that question posed?
By this time, you may be rolling your eyes and asking, “so what?” It’s all just semantics, right? My answer to that one is a big, fat “NO!”
There are many reasons for this. One is (because we identify with buildings instead of people) we become spiritual commuters. We drive to the “church,” get spiritual for an hour, and commute back home. In many cases, we don’t even get to know the actual church (the people). We just go to the building.
Instead of becoming part of the fellowship of believers, we roll in, do our thing, and roll out. I don’t want to get too personal here, but I’m going to say it. You may as well slap ya Mama!