congregate: to bring or come together into a group, crowd, or assembly; to gather.
I was part of a congregation today. I realize that word, "congregation", is considered old school. I think the word is more relevant today than it ever was. It is a word that needs reviving. It is a concept to be enjoyed. If you are an integral part of a church congregation, you are blessed. Stand a little taller, and lift that chin of yours.
Today, if you are a member of a church congregation, you are counter-cultural.
In our post-Christian society, to be a congregant is to be a celebrant, a reckless deviation from the norm. The norm is to treat Sunday as though it is no different than any other day. The norm is to fear/avoid/put down the organized church. After all, it is so full of....people. And it is so...organized.
Like the whole universe and all of creation and our human bodies and our homes and businesses and libraries and neighborhoods and our pantries and our cleaning supplies are organized, for crying out loud. (If your cleaning supplies are not at least loosely organized, please don't have my grandson over to your house. Lack of organization can be dangerous, to cupboards and universes alike.)
When will someone have the courage to say that "organized" is not a bad word to describe the church? When will someone get the gumption to say, "I am proud and blessed to be part of a congregation."
You know...I am part of the church - a group of people with names and addresses and histories and feelings and faults and failures and sins and quirks. I assemble in an organized fashion, with a number of people who are hilariously UNlike myself. We are diverse. We disagree. But we gather anyway...we assemble....congregate....get together...physically, in real time and real space....around a central theme: the Gospel of the Finished Work of Christ.
I mean, really. Some people can only come together over the central theme of being anti-organized-church...but often, they have to do it together. And then, it gets even stranger - they organize! They pick a day and a time to regularly be anti-organized in someone's livingroom. That's a bit like the little elf-dentist in the Christmas stop-motion picture, when he said, "Let's be independent together."
It is so normal these days to be anti-organized church. But normal is boring.
I am a congregant, a celebrant, a saint. Deal with it.