“We were all baptized by one Spirit into one body…”
I Corinthians 12:12-31
An article in the Monday, January 28 Windsor Star reads “Churches Battle Dwindling Numbers” and describes the decline in several established churches and why churches today are not filled as they once were. Several reasons are cited including the fact that the world has changed and is not the same as when our parents attended. People’s needs are different. Families are struggling with the demands of work and school and extracurricular activities. Sundays are often seen as a day of rest and family time rather than going to services.
But what happened to the promises of having faith and serving God in the church in generations past? Have people lost faith in the world? God? Other people? How are people coping with everyday living and stresses? Maybe our increasing mental health issues are also spiritual health issues?
We read about youth who have difficulty to cope with the stress of educational tests, papers and general stress. Maybe this comes from a lack of knowing how to cope and relying on God in faith through any kind of process of evaluation. But do we know how to help these young people sort out these changes and values?
Our high school youth are required to have forty hours of community service in order to graduate. Some youth complete this requirement within the first months of school. Others have no idea where they can help out and get volunteer hours. The answer is simple young people connected to a church will fulfill this requirement easily because they know that their gifts are needed and accepted by those in a church. But our youth also need to know that they are accepted for who they are so when situations arise our youth and young adults raising families can know to come and get this help from a community of loving people who have been where they were and can share experience. .
Paul wrote to a struggling church in
encourage them to work together and using the example of a human body he
emphasized that Jesus is the head and not people. Paul emphasized that the
needs of all people are equal and all the gifts each person brings only further
benefit their church family- their community. He also goes on to say that what
is absolutely necessary is that there needs to be a loving spirit and caring
people who welcome others in their midst for who they are. All are equal- all
have fallen short of God’s glory and need God’s Spirit to grow in grace and
truth and all may receive God’s gift of forgiveness. And the church needs to
emerge in new ways to be relevant to the problems of people today. We need to
see what is really happening in our community and go from there. People are
struggling- sickness, aging, loss, loneliness, and fear. How we reach out as a
church and welcome others makes a difference. How we share with others is God’s
Spirit working in us and through us. Let us be Christ’s body and live for him. Corinth
PRAYER: We praise you that the church’s one foundation is Jesus but somehow the church has lost its stronghold on people today. Something different is emerging; something unknown is coming our way; something that doesn’t even have a pew or steeple is saying to us that you love us. How do we understand this for ourselves? Show us O God we pray. Amen.