The church is where God is. I believe this is part of what George Fox meant when he said:
The mighty day of the Lord is coming, the voice of Christ is crying, and God that made the world, dwelleth nor in temples made with hands, neither is he worshipped in the Steeplehouses which are made with mens hands, and you think to worship him there; but God is a Spirit, and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth; and he hath given to every one a measure of his spirit to profit withall; in the spirit is God worshipped, the Father of spirits; (To all the PEOPLE Who meet in the STEEPLE-HOUSES IN ENGLAND, And elsewhere.)
By saying this, George Fox was trying to correct a common misconception. His point was that tradition had led people to believe that they needed to go to a particular place to find and worship God. He wanted people to know that God was be found in the inward aspect of reality – in spirit and in truth!
God is everywhere, as spirit and truth are everywhere. The challenge is to allow ourselves to be open to spirit and truth! Our ability to worship God is not dependent on making it to a meetinghouse or any other place on Sunday but is dependent upon our ability to participate with Spirit in truth.
I believe that the future of the church depends on our ability to go where God is. The future of the Religious Society of Friends does not depend upon the number of children who grow up in our Meetings but upon our ability to be open to and to discern spirit and truth!
Spirit has guided me to facilitate a prayer group in a prison, so I believe that is where God is and where I am called to help build up the church.
I read the following scripture at the beginning of our first Centering Prayer group session:
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God. (Ephesians 2:19-20)
As I read this passage, a hush fell over the room, silence descended as it does when Friends enter into worship. Spirit gathered and stayed with us and was busy at work among us building a dwelling-place for God.
The church is where God is. In the case of our group, church is inside, inside a prison, where Spirit has come to rest and has opened the possibility for truth to become more fully known.