Dear Ones,
Hope you are enjoying this day. This morning I made egg dishes and a zucchini cake and went to my exercise class, and this afternoon is creative crafts. The weather has certainly changed and  is only going to be in the 50’s today…going from sweating to sweaters!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
I think we are all aware that church attendance is declining more each year; even before Covid the number of those who have no religious affiliation has continued to increase. Particularly large numbers of young adults are dropping out for a variety of reasons; 73% because of feelings that church members are judgmental and hypocritical, and 76% because they disagree on political or social issues. But the bottom line is America is becoming less Christian and does not see the need for the Lord and fellowship of the Body that was to be a place of refuge and healing.  How sad that we neglect the very One who gave everything for us. It says in Isaiah 53:5 (The Word), “He was wounded for our rebellious acts.  He was crushed for our sins. He was punished so that we could have peace, and we received healing from His wounds.” The Lord has given us Himself and also the gift of Christian community. No, the church is not perfect, for we are all imperfect people who make up the church. I was recently reading Al’s thesis and he talks about how we are meant to belong and not to have the “Lone Ranger” mentality; we are to be participants in this community of faith. Bonhoeffer writes about how it is not just a purely spiritual relationship but has a human element as well, for we are sinners gathered together and saved only by grace. Yes, we have this wonderful ideal of what Christian community should be like, but we also have to live in the real. We need to acknowledge our own sins and judgments and how it hinders spiritual growth in the church. Bonhoeffer said, “He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.” Christian community is a reality, not an ideal and we have to live in the actual. We have to give up our high expectations and face our own sinfulness, rather than accuse others. Then we can enter into fellowship, not as a demander but as a thankful participant, receiving God’s love through others. Let us not neglect the church, but love the church as God does and join together with fellow believers.
Challenge for today: Meet others in the church where they are at, and purpose to grow along side of them.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy