This year for our vacation my family travelled to PEI to sit in the sand, eat delicious food and basically just slow every cell in our bodies down so we could truly embrace life once more. It was wonderful. The red dust under your feet, the green hills rolling along and the majestic blue of the ocean just calms the soul and creates a haven unmatched anywhere else in the world. On the Island I can be still, sleep and dream. Things slow down and sometimes you just have to dance in the ocean and dance I did.
One day when the sun was shining bright as the wind blew lightly through my hair I danced in the ocean. Spinning and splashing with my son we had a marvelous time. It was quite freeing until my iPhone flew out of my pocked and landed on the ocean floor. One moment I’m dancing and the next I’m standing there in shock at my stupidity wondering if I’ll ever see my beloved phone again. I’m sure it was quite a sight, me standing there bent over examining the ocean floor, praying to Jesus that I would find my phone. After a few uncertain moments I spotted it, my pink iPhone cover was poking out of the ocean floor almost completely buried beneath the sand. I was equal parts relieved and dismayed. I found my phone but would it ever work again? It did work, it does work. I am so grateful.
After the initial shock I got to thinking how lucky I was that I had covered my phone in a protective case. On it’s own the iPhone is a little fragile. It has body and substance but could use more protection. The case surrounded it, protected it and became it’s saving grace. It wasn’t a requirement for the phone to work but it was essential in keeping it working this rocky situation.
I have an iPhone cover in my life. It’s my faith, my trust in Jesus and the community of believers that I surround myself with. There are times when it seems like I don’t really need those things. When life is going swimmingly well and I can walk along happily on my own. But there are times when life gets tough and life seems uncertain. In those times I am able to turn to God, to my faith in him and the people that I gather with regularly to worship with.
This may seem trite and silly to you but I’ve noticed a lot of people lately declaring the lack of necessity of church. I’ve seen posts on Facebook and been told in person that you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian and I suppose that is true in a sense. You can follow and read and study on your own but there is some measure of comfort, of community that comes from meeting with those who believe as you believe, who walk the same path you walk. You can’t find that on your own. It’s tough to find a community in isolation. The church is more than a meeting place. The church is community, it is the people of God gathered.
We all need some protection, a community that rallies around us and supports us in good times and bad. When life gets tough and faith is hard to hold on to the church and it’s people hold onto it for you until you find your way again. I am grateful for the church and it’s community. As frustrated and irritated as I seem at times with the lack of movement and motivation, it is necessary, important and vital for those of us who follow Jesus. Jesus said when two or three is gathered he is there. I need this. I need community and I need Jesus. There have been times in my life when I found it next to impossible to find God let alone pray to him. The people who held me up in prayer, who rallied around me and offered comfort sustained me through my darkest period. As Christians we need each other. We need community.
I am grateful that I have the church as imperfect and troubled as it is. I am grateful for the community, for the support and for the spirit that enters our midst when we gather together. A lot of the time I complain and wish things were different but I need to remember the things that are good about it. The reasons we want it to continue are things we should celebrate and give thanks for.
While I wouldn’t recommend tossing your iPhone into the ocean to get a clean look at things sometimes it’s the odd things in life that help you find clarity about other issues. From now on when I cry out against the church and plead for change and focus I will try to remember the good things. We are a community of imperfect people who lift each other up in a world that can be very isolating. If only we could get others to see it that way as well…