Sunday, September 10, 2006

"Not My Thing"

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.”

“Church is not my thing.” It might surprise you to know that this statement came from a Christian. Then again, it might not. I was somewhat taken back, however, because, contrary to this individual’s habits, church was our Lord’s “thing” (Luke 4:16), as well as Paul’s (Acts 17:2) and the disciples’ (Acts 20:17). I am well aware that church attendance is not a prerequisite for justification before God, nor is it a guarantee of an intimate relationship with Him as a Father. But I am also aware that the Church of Jesus Christ, from its inception, has always met together in local bodies to hear the Word of God expounded, encourage one another in holy living, observe the two ordinances given to the Church (The Lord’s Table and Believer’s Baptism), and discover ways of sharing the Gospel around the world. The size of the meeting place or the number of people involved is inconsequential so long as these things are happening.

This is not a bone of contention with me. I understand there are times when one is unable to be in the Lord’s house. It is a lack of any desire to be there that I find inscrutable—that “solitary conceit,” as C.S. Lewis calls it. Church membership, or even fellowship, does not make one a Christian any more than swimming in water makes one a fish. But there is something about actual fish that makes them at home in the water…something innate. Here’s the thing: wherever my husband, children, grandchildren, great-grandbaby, brother, sisters, or those related by marriage are, that’s where I want to be. “Of course,” you say, “They’re family!” Hmmm….

I’m glad church has always been “my thing.” One could (and does) do a whole lot worse.

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