I couldn't have gotten much further in this week of writing - without posting yesterday's piece.
It seems to me...that He is moving and doing and working in the area of faith right now - for many individuals in my contact.
And I'm learning....that the best way to live for the Lord....is to ask Him what He is already doing - and simply join Him in it.
As I was writing yesterday's words - words for today began to formulate. So this post is a natural follow-up.
It's becoming more and more apparent that we can't have a sturdy conversation about faith - without including the topic of fellowship.
I know what some of you are thinking. I've thought it too....
"Why do I need to go to a church? Why do I need to gather around other seekers? All they will do is sell me their brand of Christianity and expect a tithe. Why can't I just seek on my own and figure it out in the confines of my own heart? Besides, I don't really trust those people. I've been burned and I don't want to go back."
I hear you, friend.
Your points are valid.
But may I ever so gingerly offer a counter?
Aside from Christianity....people need people. Social experiments, history, and health statistics all point to this fact.
So if for nothing else - being around others enhances the quality and longevity of our days. It's as if we were made for it.
Now you must know - that this is being typed out here by the fingers of an introvert. I revitalize and refresh by being alone. But that doesn't mean that I don't fellowship. I need it just as much as the extrovert - maybe not in the same quantity or duration...but it's still just as vital to my stats. Yours too. Even us introverts need integration.
So let's add the Christian aspect back in. If you are sincerely seeking the Truth - and longing to know what's real when it comes to this faith - and really pursuing a glimpse of Christ...then perhaps taking a look at those who started this whole church thing will be beneficial.
All throughout the New Testament, we see the early church.....doing church. Gathering. Eating. Serving. Providing. Sharing.
They lived right alongside one another. And not only that - they revealed God to one another, too.
Did you catch that?
God often times reveals Himself to us.....through others.
Through their experiences, their testimonies, their stories, their trials, their transformations, their encouragement, exhortation, and example.
C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, said it well....
"God can show Himself as He really is only to real men. And that means not simply to men who are individually good, but to men who are united together in a body, loving one another, helping one another, showing Him to one another. For that is what God meant humanity to be like; like players in one band, or organs in one body.
Consequently, the one really adequate instrument for learning about God is the whole Christian community, waiting for Him together." (p.165)
Now to some of us - this is scary. We have seen deacons act ridiculously. We have witnessed a pastors fall. We have been wounded by congregants.
But I implore you, with all due respect and gracefulness, to try again.
"Otherwise, we are like a bronze, taken from the fire, lifeless and cold." (- Rend Collective Experiment, in their song The Campfire Story)
The people you meet in a good, Spirit-filled, biblical church - will not be perfect. They are sinners. That is why they are there. But they can stand shoulder to shoulder with you - and perhaps show you a bit of the The Way.
They have for me.
My faith is proof.