Participant vs Spectator
How would you classify your relationship with the local church, specifically, the church you attend?
Every single relationship we have has some sort of classification in our lives, your work is most likely a business relationship, your spouse a marriage, children are familial, friends are well…friendships, neighbors are neighborly, drivers on the road in STV…enemies, (Just Kidding 🙂 ). I think you get the idea of what I am trying to say. So, what is your relationship to the church you attend? What should it be? Is there anywhere in scripture that God directly or through the disciples tells us how to relate to one another in a communal setting as well as throughout the week? If you answered YES to any of the above, then go ahead and give yourself 3 gold stars.
In God’s word, it says that the relationship between the church and Christ is one of head (Christ) and body (church). Then Paul continues this imagery so that we might understand how we, in many cases total strangers, are to relate to one another. The church is referred to as the bride of Christ. The most intimate selfless relationship that exists, and yes, even more so than parent and child. While your bond with your child is close, they are a part of you, even though they can be a pain they are literally our flesh and blood. Your spouse however is somebody who was once a stranger to you, a person that you chose to spend the rest of your life honoring, serving, and loving them. You are both different yet equal. This is a much more difficult relationship to cultivate.
If the Bible had asked us to be neighborly to one another that would be so much easier, we can be nice to our neighbors but we don’t love them, we can ignore them or go long periods of time without talking with them and then give a cursory nod when they go passing by and everything is good. We do not share our most intimate secrets and fears with them. If they hold a block party and we are invited, we are not required to pay or be involved, just come and enjoy the festivities.
Now take everything I just said about a neighbor and ask yourself, is my relationship with the church more like my/a marriage, or is it more like a neighbor?
Deep thoughts by Nathan Bentley
Look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we dive deeper into the series, The Gathering.