1 March 2017
Lots of people say that they believe in God - or something like God - and recognise that there is a spiritual dimension to life. But they see no reason to belong to a Church or any kind of organised religion.
Can't you just be spiritual all by yourself? they ask.
Well, I would say both yes and no.
Yes, of course, we can explore faith and pray on our own. After all, Jesus told his disciples that, when they prayed, they should go into a room and close the door first. We can read the Bible and read books or articles about theology and spirituality in the comfort of our sofas or beds. We can find out about Jesus and have a relationship with him without the need to do this in the company of a bunch of random strangers.
But oddly this doesn't work. It's not enough.
Just as Christians think of God as being, in his very essence, in community - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we too are created to be in relationship. And our faith only comes alive and makes any sense within our relationships with the people around us.
I remember coming to church as an adult for the first time with the sole intention of getting my child into the local church school. I had no interest in making new friends, I just wanted to show my face to the Vicar and ensure my child's attendance was recorded on the Sunday School register.
But, as God began to make himself known to me, I started to see the people around me in a different way. I started to appreciate what I was receiving from them, from people who were on a similar spiritual journey.
I realised that the Christian community was not a group of perfect people or people who saw themselves, in any way, as perfect. They were ordinary people - many with as many doubts and weaknesses as I had myself. But in spite of this and really because of this - I came to love them dearly and to see how God had called me to journey with them. To learn from them, to receive from them. To see them as my brothers and sisters.
If you are interested in finding God and exploring faith, don't try to go it alone. Find a Church to get involved with or maybe join our private Facebook community by subscribing to this list and I will add you to our community.