Life Worship Notes—January 9, 2104
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:12-13
On Tuesday morning, I heard a news story that gave me pause. It was about a non-religious gathering called a Sunday Assembly. It began in Britain a couple years ago and has grown to about thirty congregations in several countries, including a number in the United States. A Sunday Assembly is for those who desire fellowship, music, and community. It is described as, “The best bits of church, but with no religion.” The gatherings may have music, meditation, lectures, and readings, but nothing of a religious nature. My first thought was that it sounded like a good alternative for non-church folk. However, the more I thought about it, the more I believe it represents a colossal failure of the church body. The fact that people have a desire to gather in community is affirmation of our need to be a part of a larger body. The fact that these people want everything in their collective body except religion makes me fear we have failed, miserably, in making the worship of God appealing to all of God’s children.
The church, as the body of Christ, should be at the forefront of community. It reminds me of the leadership adage, “A leader without followers is just someone taking a walk.” Are we just out for a walk, or are we making a compelling and attractive case for people to join us? Recently, I read this post on Facebook: “Your life as a Christian should make nonbelievers question their disbelief in God.” I believe that; but apparently, we have a ways to go in putting it into practice. The community of the church consists of believers communing with each other and with God. When we remove God from the community, what remains—a party? Clearly, people attending Sunday Assembly are finding something worthwhile in their gathering.
Do not misunderstand me. I find many non-church gatherings fun, fulfilling, and spirit-filled. What concerns me is the intentional exclusion of God. Certainly, not every person is comfortable with every type of religious practice. However, we worship a huge God in many different ways. God reaches out to us as a loving parent, and life is simply better when we reach back. Why is that such a difficult message to get out? Our churches have become places where some, seeking community, prefer to avoid. Is that a problem of theirs, or is it our problem? I choose to believe the latter. We simply must find enticing ways to reconnect people to God, for their sake, as well as for the community.
Come home to church this Sunday. Find your place in the body of Christ.
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator