“Where two or more are gathered in his name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20)
This passage has been stuck in my mind and my heart for some time now. You see, Church to me is less in the building as it is in the community and in the heart and mind of the believer. I was dragged into a debate the other day about salvation and church. I won’t recreate the debate here, but the gist of it was that a coworker of mine seemed to think that if you did not attend one specific church, well than.. you are doomed.
The basis of his argument tended toward the brick and mortar of the church, and in my opinion, less with the matters of the heart. We agreed on each and every point that should lead us to a good life and a possible salvation, but in the end could not come to resolution on which building we should worship in.
I shared with him the idea that I did not need a church house to be “saved”. I have everything I need in my heart and mind. Well this blew his mind. I talked to him about Scouts own services… held in the woods. “Can’t be done” he said.. “No substitute for ‘the real thing’” he went on. I told him that I am a lot more connected with my God when we are out in the woods than I ever have been sitting in the pews at church. Watching as our young Chaplains Aide conducts the Scouts own service is more spiritual to me than hearing someone go on and on about how I should live my life and oh by the way.. dig deep when the collection plate comes around.
I have heard wisdom beyond their years come from a Scout as he talks about what living the Scout Law means. I have seen as both young and old men tear up at the sight of Gods majesty as we reflect on his power and wonder sitting at a vista along the trail. I know God and He knows me and He gets to decide who joins him in heaven.
I have sung praise in snow banks and got on my knees in prayer led by a Scout that does not recite a prayer, but talks to Our Father from the heart. This is Church… this is where I know God.
We were on a camp out one gorgeous Spring when our Chaplains aide spoke the words, ”Where two or more are gathered in his name, there am I among them”. I looked at one of the Assistant Scoutmasters that was standing next to me, we nodded in agreement. I then panned the group of Scouts that sat quietly listening to their friend talk about a Scout being Reverent. I honestly felt the presence of my God right there.
Now I am not saying that churches are not an important part of people’s lives. But Brick and Mortar buildings only stand to facilitate what goes on inside them.
My coworker is a good Christian man, I am sure that his heart is in the right place. But sometimes don’t you think the mind should follow.
My sister and I talked the other night about church. We were both raised in a family that never missed a Sunday. We believe and participate fully in the sacraments. As we have aged, we both have spent less time in the building, but our faith has grown stronger. It was interesting to talk with her about how she feels about this. There is some guilt about not being in the building, but fundamentally we both feel stronger in our faith.
I suppose I have separated my faith from the business of the church. I can’t stand the politics and the drama, I refuse to participate in a show. I want spiritual food and I find that within the context of the Scouts own and my relationship with our Lord. I have heard some churches refer to the “personal relationship with our Lord and Saviour”.. I have one of them, do I need the building or is two or more of us gathered in His name enough?
It is a debate in the mind now, one that I seem to be winning. I believe.. sometimes I think the show that runs at 8 and 11 on First street misses the point sometimes. It’s not a curtain call, its our spiritual well-being that I seek. I find it in the woods.
This is a heavy topic, I want to know what you think, how you feel. I don’t want to debate you… but I am interesting in hearing your take on this issue. Leave a comment.
Have a Great Scouting Day!