My Thoughts

A recent post by a dear friend caused me to pause. There was something missing, something deeply unsettling in the sentiment expressed or more precisely in what was missing from the sentiment.

As church attendance numbers fade across the nation and online services become very convenient it’s important to remember why church attendance for you and your family matters so much.

You can’t serve from your sofa. You can’t have community of faith on your sofa. You can’t experience the power of a room full of believers worshipping together on your sofa.

Christians aren’t consumers. We are contributors. We don’t watch. We engage. We give. We sacrifice. We encourage. We pray by laying hands on the hurting. We do life together.

The Church needs you.
And you need the church. ⛪❤️🙏

While I grudgingly admired the sentiment, I was seriously disturbed by what was so obscenely absent. The last two lines exemplify what I mean: “The church needs you. And you need the church.” Reading this, one might readily conclude that church is a mere social club where everyone is welcome except the Master of His House, the Lord of the Manor. “Where is God?” Church should be that sanctuary where I can converse intimately with my God, my Creator. I need God and church is where I come to worship and adore Him. 

We have forgotten, to our everlasting detriment, that church is not about us. The post exudes self-centeredness. “We are contributors. We don’t watch. We engage. We give. We sacrifice. We encourage. We pray. We do life together.” Where is God mentioned, even as a sidenote or footnote? What does God have to do with it, then? I would argue we would be far better off with a lot less W-E and a lot more G-O-D. I am not saying the “We” are not needed, but I submit each of We must come humbly before God to “contribute” our sins and “consume” God’s mercy and forgiveness. We come before God as abject beggars, nothing more, nothing less. It is God who graciously contributes his mercy and love to those who too often consider him an afterthought if any thought at all.

I am reminded of two passages from the Gospel of Luke.

As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, John answered them all, “I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Luke 3:15-17).

It seems to me we have forgotten that church is Christ’s granary. Are we wheat or chaff?

Secondly, and far more important passage comes from the next chapter, Luke 4:5-8. 

And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then will worship me, it shall all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written,

‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.'”

I am further reminded of something I recently read, though I cannot recall when or where. How great is your faith? The first disciples and early Christians knew their faith came with near certainty of persecution and death. Yet they stood fast, they attended church, worshipped and adored their God and Savior. So, should We not ask ourselves: How great is our faith? Be honest, are you willing to die for God? 

Just asking for a Friend.

Just my thoughts for a Sunday for what it is worth.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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