Tuesday, May 6, 2014

connecting to Christ and the church


John 1:14  NASB
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When we choose to follow Jesus, there are things that happen that cannot happen without Him.  Yet God opens up even more for us when we connect to others.  That is where is church comes in to play.  Church is important, but maybe you know that already.

We need to interact with other people who have chosen to follow Jesus.  Such interaction makes us stronger, stretches us and our thinking and brings us to places we cannot go on our own.  When I connect to others, we learn from the experiences of others as well as the experiences we have with God.

We need each other.  We need the church.  Below is a portion of a letter written by Henri Nouwen who has encouraged me with his writing.

One thing I would like to ask you is to keep faithful to a life of prayer.  Without prayer, confession, anger and frustrations may become unbearable for you, but, when in prayer you connect then with the struggle of Jesus Himself, I trust that your vocation will deepen.  It is so important to be in the world and really in it, but without being of it, and that is only possible when you live a life of prayer.  I also would like you to stay faithful to the church, even when you see its tendency to be self-indulgent.  In the long run, living in Christ without being connected with the church is impossible.  I have seen this over and over again.  The church continues to be the place where Christ calls us to His faithfulness and from where Christ sends us into the world.

(taken from a letter written in November of 1987)

Take some time to read that again.  I hear echoes of things that God has been teaching me for sometime, and what I confess is that it will take me forever to learn many of these.  I know prayer is vital, and prayer is part of my life.  Yet I want to go deeper in this area of my life. 

Nouwen says that our struggle to get to know Jesus is even deeper when the church is part of our lives.  He is right.  The church is the place where we listen and meet God because of the challenge we get from others. 

We need God.  We need the church.  May God open us to see Him and to know Him even more!

not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

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