We’ve mentioned before about the growing trend of people considering themselves “spiritual but not religious.” Recently, I read an article by a college chaplain who was asked by a student, “I get why you’re into ‘being spiritual’ and ‘helping people’ and everything, but why bother with Church? Do you really think you need it?”
The student felt that churches are just places that organize service projects, have book clubs, host fun dinners, and offer support groups. So, in his opinion, since you can find all that elsewhere through various outlets, what’s the point of church?
After hearing the student’s question, the chaplain felt like “he was, at least in part, right. If the Church is only what he described (a sort of glorified community center or service provider), it is a wonder anyone shows up. I began to seriously ask myself, do I really need Church? Why bother with Church at all?”
But then the chaplain realized why she really does need church. Because she’s forgetful:
It’s true. I have a terrible memory. Especially when it comes to remembering who I am as a child of God. Especially when it comes to remembering what God has done, and continues to do, in and through Jesus Christ. I forget who I am. I forget who God is. I forget God’s Epic Story of Redemption and Liberation and Renewal and Beauty and Hope. I forget. A lot. On top of that, there are a gazillion other demands and voices that are vying for my attention all the freaking time. So I get tired. And I get distracted. And more often than not, I forget. I need Church, because Church reminds me of everything that’s important.
YES! Part of the church’s job is to remind people about the eternal, divine, mysterious, mystical truths of God. The Deep Magic that is hard to notice at first but undergirds all of creation.
So yes, churches do lots of activities that other groups do–meals, discussions, fellowships, performances, service projects–but they are all done with that eternal divine reasoning underneath that helps remind you why it’s important. Ideally, church functions are more substantive than other community functions, because the substance of the church is the nourishing Bread of Life that feeds our souls.
I definitely need church to help me remember those things. I think most people do too. Let’s make Hickory Rock a place that isn’t just fun to attend, but a place that reminds people about the God who made them.