God in the midst

I LOVE the Christian Church – the Body of Christ. But I do not like church.

What a contradiction that is!

Ever since I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour and Lord, I had been actively involved in the local church. My whole life revolved around the church; I believed that was what it meant to be a Christian, a follower of Christ. Then, in the 1990s, my world turned upside down – and I left the church.

I never left God. In fact, in my isolation from Christian fellowship he became my Rock, my Shepherd, the Lover of my soul, my Guide, my God. Without him I would never have come through the decades of intense psychotherapy needed to deal with deep psychological trauma from a problematic past, and become the person I am today.

In time, I tried to return to church. For years I struggled to connect with a local congregation. I went to churches of all denominational persuasions, staying at some for weeks, months; leaving others after my initial visit and one even mid-way through the first service. The whole process was excruciatingly painful; my church visits often ended in tears. I have finally accepted that, for me, trying to find a contemporary church of the twenty-first century is a futile exercise. Not only do I not fit into that scene, I find so much of church culture incongruent with the teachings of Christ, and with New Testament examples of Christian fellowship.

At present, church for me is meeting with one or two people at a time, talking with them in a mutually supportive way about God and what he means to us. It is often in these informal ways that we come to better understand one another, connect in significant ways, be an encouragement to each other and together grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). I am sure this is what Jesus meant when he said:  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them (Matthew 18:20).

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