We all know people who don’t “go to church.” Have you wondered why? It turns out there is no singular answer. In fact, there is no singular answer among people who do.
One person’s “take” on the church can be quite different from that of another. In the public sphere, the opinion of church and the Church falls along the spectrum from highly positive to highly negative. Within the “churched” there is a similar array of opinions and attitudes.
These opinions and attitudes are rooted in a person’s observations and experiences; and agreements or disagreements around theology, mission, expressions of faith, and degree of emotional and spiritual connection. In some instances, they are rooted in extremely and profoundly negative - or positive - experiences with the clergy and church members. Worldwide, pastors and parishioners have been the cause of lesser and greater harm, but harm nonetheless; and the vehicle for lesser and greater healing, but healing nonetheless.
Churches can generate all sorts of programming and all sorts of outreach and all sorts of worship experiences; but if they do not express and generate love, they are failing in the key area of the gospel. Modeled after Zephaniah 3.19, the church should “gather the outcast”, not create them. Modeled after Matthew 22.37-40, the church should love God with its whole being and love its neighbors as itself.
Without Love, there is no gospel. Without Love, there is no nearness of the reign of God. Without Love, there is no urge to “do a 180.” Without Love, there is no gospel in which to believe. Without Love, there is no Good News.
This is why it is good to be a part of the church family here at FUBC: love is our first priority. May it always be so. May all our collective actions and individual activities reveal agape love for humankind. May we always seek the highest good for everyone, friends and enemies alike. To do that, we need to keep encouraging each other, keep working together, keep seeking Wisdom, and daily keep living love to the best of our ability.
Peace be with you.
See you soon!
~~Pastor Jim Sinclair
Rev Jim Sinclair
Pastor Jim is the minister for First United Baptist Church