today is sunday and i did not go to church. nor will i. i work tonight, but this morning i was free and clear, i simply chose not to go. as i was trying to decide whether to set my alarm last night, i thought it'd be a good idea for me to stay home and explore some of the questions i've had about church lately.
since leaving my job at christian community church in october, i haven't really felt any particular need to invest myself in a church community. i had become pretty sick and bored with participating in ministry after doing little aside from leading Bible studies, playing on worship teams, and making plans for ministry in pittsburgh and mars. the whole meaning of everything had become stale and distant. i knew all the answers (Jesus) and could easily teach other people what the Bible wants us to do and how we should live our lives, but these answers were nothing other than simple answers anymore. i'd reached a point where my faith had become nothing exciting or interesting anymore. a stalemate.
so this morning i wanted to take time to examine what the point is, why i should go to church, what am i missing out on, where does this void come from? i woke up and started to have my own personal service, complete with a time of prayer and a time of worship. then it was time to explore the Bible for the first time on weeks, maybe months. i googled for answers to "what is the purpose of the church?". i was trying to figure out why i should go to church on sundays instead of worshiping on my own right there in my bed. what was i missing?
the answers were what i expected. the greek word that translates to "church" essentially means the people. not in that many words, but that's what the real meaning of church is. the church isn't the service we go to on sundays or the building they're held in, but rather the body of believers who gather. the church is about the people who come together to build one another up, to instruct one another, and to break bread. while it is important to have individual time of worship and prayer, it is the church body that is the important aspect of what we do on sunday mornings.
i have said recently that i tend to feel like i am getting my church fulfillment from my interactions with close friends only a daily or weekly basis. all of my closest friends are Christians, so our conversations and interactions inherently are based on Christianity in some way. whether we actually talk about the Bible or the church, or whether we simply show love for one another and people outside of our friends, we can't avoid the fact that we're Christians and live our lives accordingly. but the fact is that it is important for believers to come together and intentionally share their faith. it is important that our meeting contains instruction, worship, prayer, and the breaking of bread. sharing meals was regarded as a sacred act in Jesus' time and place, so the breaking of bread among believers has become of the utmost importance to our faith.
this is just a brief look at what i've considered this morning, but i think the conclusion that i've come to (or will eventually come to) is necessary. that conclusion is that the church is important to Christianity. "the church" as a whole may have come off the path once intended, but when we evaluate the simple importance of being a body of believers, that's where we find our answers. i cannot experience the love and faith in Christianity without experiencing the faith of other believers.