a Needful Thing
Friends-I had a couple weeks of vacation that were great. We went to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan all the way to the end of the land. DeTour, Michigan is a great place for us to get away, recover, and recharge.
Away for vacation is why there've been no blog posts lately. But I'm back.
I was reading an article from The Atlantic last week and it was pretty interesting. I think most of us are aware of the decline in churches as a whole and the voices that clamor for community. This article discusses some groups that have gotten together and tried to make a community around itself-they gather just to gather. This is an interesting experiment.
These groups have come to find that church without God is a nonstarter. The article describes how the gatherings are missing some sort of cohesive center. Without a unifying purpose, these groups wither and fall away. While this conclusion is affirming to those of us who are the church, I think there is a deeper learning here.
The experiment described in The Atlantic makes it clear that God is an essential part of our gatherings. What this also should point us to is the role of God in our gatherings. This is not to negate the value of coming together as a community of faith, but the findings highlight the need to keep God central in church gatherings. For worship, then, it becomes an issue of seeking after an awareness of God's work in our midst and joining in with that work.
If gatherings come apart when God is not central, then a way to ensure the vitality of a gathering is to consciously keep our relationship with God as the primary purpose of coming together. This makes our worship and mission not about us, what we want, or what we're interested in-it's about God. What has God done? What's God about? How can we join in?
The time of the church is not over. It is time, though, for us to reexamine how we go about being people of God in the world.