Is there still a need in people’s lives to express their spirituality in some way, shape or form–and within community? Our western culture seems to have taken individuality to the extreme where religious community life has been secularized and devalued to the sidelines of life, and even ignored. Participation in religious community life has now become totally voluntary… but maybe this is good. It separates true and genuine Christian believers/seekers who voluntarily commit to their beliefs from those who follow Christianity due to involuntary happenstance or family heritage. As religious community life becomes more marginalized, what distinguishes the visible church from the invisible church will be pared down. The expression of true spirituality and religious life will become more apparent to secular eyes.
Morever, and more to my point, is that, people who voluntarily desire to become a part of an organized religious/faith community (a church) are not as prone to sliding into spiritual oblivion. Here’s a few cases I witnessed the past month that explains our human need to be in Christian community:
The other day, a stranger walked into our church during our prayer meeting. he didn’t know us, and we didn’t know him from Adam. I admired his courage to enter our church. I suspect the reason why he came might have been motivated by his desire to express his thanks to God for getting him a new job, after having been unemployed for the last four months. In our prayers together, I felt that our small prayer group was successful in helping him express his thankfulness to God for giving him a job. I ended up giving him a bible to take home, and we all welcomed him to come again to join us for Sunday worship and Wednesday night prayer meetings (may the Holy Spirit continue working in his life). Also another fellow had walked into our prayer meeting a month ago. I don’t know what motivated him to come but I sensed he had a need to come. He wasn’t a complete stranger to the church because he says he knew someone from a while back.
All of us need to have an outlet for spiritual expression. Without it, we will ultimately become disconnected from true spirituality. If the opportunity for one to access such expressions are denied them, will their spirituality become lifeless and formless?
[ next post expresses what we need to do about this disconnect. See previous post Part 2. ]