“Can I be a Christian on my own, or do I have to join a church?”
The Rev. Michael Lindvall raised that question in his book, “A Geography of God.”
How would you respond? On the one hand, the answer is yes. One can be a Christian without being a member of a church or even attending church!
But on the other hand, Rev. Lindvall goes on to say, “But it’s extraordinarily difficult, and in spite of all the foibles of church, it’s not nearly as much of a joy.”
Why does being part of a faith community matter?
It matters because we worship a God who is love, and love can only be shared and experienced in relationship. As Trinitarians, we believe in one God manifested in three ways — Father, Son and Holy Spirit — all one and in relationship. And we are created in the image of God, called to be in relationship. Being a Christian is no “Lone Ranger” deal!
And what about “joining the church”? You don’t have to be a member of a church to be a follower of Jesus, but really what we are talking about here is making a commitment. True love must have an element of commitment to it and Jesus often uses marriage as a metaphor for our relationship with him. Dating is one thing, but marriage is something else entirely. Marriage says, “I’m here for the long haul, through ups and downs, through good days and bad days, through joy and sorrow. I will always be here with you.”
In this season of Advent and Christmas, we wait for and then celebrate the coming of Jesus. God loves us so much that he dared to enrobe himself in the flesh and walk among us. He wanted to give us the gift of relationship, the gift of love, the gift of commitment, the gift of salvation.
God gave us an example in Jesus… who was no Lone Ranger!
I invite you to look for ways to be in relationship with others and to strengthen your commitment to Jesus Christ in this holiday season!