There are two things in life you can’t do alone – one is to be married and the other is to be a Christian.
Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that a relationship with God doesn’t necessarily involve me with his church. This is a mistake. The Bible calls the church “the Body of Christ” (1 Cor 12:27). If that’s true, then avoiding it means avoiding him. We can’t have it both ways.
Jesus said, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matt 18:20). Now, I don’t pretend to fully understand this, but I don’t have to. The point is clear. Jesus was telling his disciples he would be especially close when they came together.
This should come as no surprise. He spent some of his last free minutes on earth praying passionately for his followers to be united in love for one another (Jn 17:20-23). The scary thing is that we can convince ourselves otherwise. If you’re thinking you can do your own thing and follow him without being part of his confused, stumbling and deeply-flawed crew, you’re only deceiving yourself. St. Augustine said, “He who would have God for his Father must also take the church for his mother.”
If I wanted to follow Jesus in his day, I had to be identified with the bad temper and outrageous ambition of James and John, the impulsive hijinks of Peter, the strange silence of Bartholomew, the fatalism and doubt of Thomas, the studious intellect of Nathanael and all the rest. Crazy Mary, workaholic Martha, timid Joseph and even criminal Judas. If I wanted him, I got them as well. This hasn’t changed.
So let me invite you to draw near to his people and find him in their midst. I’ll see you on Sunday. Be true!
Greg Daulton is lead pastor at Mount Rainier Christian Center.