I wrote earlier today about the futility of escaping God. Here’s just a final word on that for Christian travellers that I thought was a necessary postscript, given those I’m living amongst.
One final word to the Christian traveller. Since God has given us His chosen means of working in this world (His Church, presiding over His Word and Sacraments and guarding them by healthy church discipline), who are we to complain if we suffer when we choose to neglect it?
What do I mean by all that religious language above? Well, if we choose to travel on weekends and deliberately forsake the local church: the people of God who we’ve committed ourselves to (for their good and for ours); who will preach God’s word to us; celebrate his death and resurrection with us and guard and guide us; then we leave ourselves in a dangerous place. Because when we neglect the grace he has provided, in His Son’s body (the church), in the intimacy of His Son’s words (the Bible) and in the brokenness of His Son’s sacrifice (the Lord’s Supper), we reject Him.
That’s right. We reject Him.
“Oh but I can have fellowship anytime abroad or with the global Church” you may say.
Perhaps for a short while yes, but they won’t know you the same way, point you to Christ the same way, preach God’s word to you in your heart language the same way, exercise church discipline if you go astray (if these things aren’t happening in your church at home already, I’d start thinking).
“But I always get back for homegroup in midweek” you may pushback.
Fantastic! And I don’t belittle that. But he uses the preached word particularly, and his sacraments that aren’t often found midweek. Nor do we often fulfil commands to encourage each other by singing to each other in midweek gatherings (perhaps you do), or come across our elders/church leaders as much. And that’s not to start to mention that Sunday may be a special day for God’s people.
It’s in sombreity that I say these things because my heart needs to hear them. I sit here always so tempted to book that next flight. And all for good reason. “What about those friends I haven’t seen in so long who even support me in my work?” “what about my family who I am called to love?” “What about that other church who wants me to share about my work with them?” “What will one more Sunday away do?” I think to myself.
So this semester to keep me around, I’ve agreed to lead a Life Explored course each Sunday afternoon so as to keep me from thinking I can waltz off on my travels and it won’t affect anyone. I can think it will have no affect on my spirituality, but I’d be wrong. There’s more freedom and joy in community as God meant it to be.