I would like to point out that this is post 1111. High five for eleventy-one-hundred-one!
Yesterday I went to brunch with my dear friend Casandra in order to catch up one last time before I leave for the summer.
SIDE NOTE: I keep mentioning that I’m leaving for the summer, but I don’t think I’ve told you what/where exactly I’m doing/going. So here’s the scoop. I’m going to Pasadena, CA this summer on a summer training program with The Traveling Team called Intensive Training(IT) Project. In California I will be taking the Perspectives course at the US Center for World Missions while living with a bunch of other like-minded people. I will be doing small group stuff, visiting churches, evangelism, etc. on my spare time. It’s going to be a tremendous growing experience for me and I cannot wait to see what God has planned!
Anyways, I went to lunch with my friend and for a good long time I just gushed and raved about what God has been teaching me.
Which is weird, because I don’t really feel like I’ve been very consistent about my relationship with God in the last few weeks. I’ve been a lot more committed to The Vampire Diaries than I’ve been to my bible reading… and yet here I found myself blabbing about God like I would a new boyfriend. Which is kind of awesome.
This got me to thinking about Church and why it’s important. And no, I’m not talking about the church building. Like what even is a building once all the people leave? I’m not even talking about church services and what goes on within the four walls! I’m talking about people. Fellowship. Why does Hebrews say “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”(Hebrews 10:24-25)?
Obviously it’s not in the bible just for kicks and giggles. That would be crazy talk. No there must be a meaning behind it. Well I think I stumbled on it this morning. In my conversation with Casandra I was reminded how much I love God. I came home from brunch and I really just wanted to sink my teeth into the word and go even more crazy.
It’s like when you have a crush on somebody. The more you talk about that person the deeper you convince yourself that you’re in love with them. Sometimes you hang out with the person and you realize you were an idiot, and sometimes you realize all your wildest dreamings were true and you’ve found someone you could actually love. Well. God is the latter.
So why is church important? Because long distance relationships are hard, and sometimes you just need to be reminded why you keep on with it. You need your support group. You need friends around you encouraging you and pointing out your blessings and telling you about their struggles and victories and sharing their lives with you.
I used to think that relationships were for pansies and church was about getting a deep sermon and learning about God. I was wrong. Church isn’t about the sermon. It’s not about getting preached to, it isn’t even directly about growing in relationship with God. It’s about seeing God in others and being encouraged by others. The closet is the place for bible study. The closet is the place for repentance and emotions and wrestling with the hard issues of faith. Now I’m not saying those things aren’t in the church or that those things shouldn’t be in the church, I’m merely saying they shouldn’t be why you go to church. You can do those things on your own, but you can’t fellowship alone. You can’t ask yourself for advice. You can’t give yourself wisdom. We need each other.
I know y’all are going to criticize this. Please do. I know I don’t have my characterization of church quite right. I think church services are awesome for helping people encounter God and I’m not at all saying that isn’t good or appropriate. I am just saying that the focus of the church should be community… Because community is important. That is all. Fire away.