Original Posting At http://sandpipersthoughts.blogspot.com/2019/03/why-church.html
Why church? Why come together on Sundays (or any other day) to worship God as a community? Why be part of a community at all? We had this discussion in Sunday school, and I had some pushback to the idea that we need to be in church in order to … well… be church.
A person once said to me, “I can experience God better in my back yard than in ‘church.'” I get that. I understand that in the quiet and peacefulness of nature, our souls are more quiet, and we can see God more. I’ve talked about that alot on this blog, and I have certainly experienced it. God is present right now, as I sit at my computer and type this post. I can hear – discern – God more easily in the quiet, without the organ or the distractions of watching other people or hearing the comments in the pews behind me. I can see God in a tree rustling in the wind, or in the sunrise on a mountain, or in the beauty of a flower.
But, how does that help us to be the church other than prepare me to be a part of the church? Other than prepare me to fulfill the mission I’ve been given and that the Church has been given? How does me finding God in a bird help anyone else?
Yes, there are ways, but aren’t there other ways we cannot ignore? Ways that God intended for us through the Church?
If God is present in a rose or a sunrise, then isn’t God present in me? In you? And if I stay home from worship, how will others know God? That sounds very self-righteous, but I don’t mean it to be. Let me turn it around. If you stay home and enjoy your garden, how will I come to know what God needs me to know through you?
There are means of grace. Some are can be very private and individualized, such as contemplation, study, fasting, And then there are those that are corporate, such as communion, visiting the sick and those in prison, feeding the hungry, holy conversation, and communal worship.
In our gathered worship, we are Christ to each other. If we stay away, we miss that experience, and we withhold it from those who would gather with us.