I look at what is happening to the Church these days and wonder: Where is God? New churches have become a rarity. A growing congregation celebrates if it can merely keep pace with the growth of its community. Many congregations see their membership numbers decline and especially the number who attend worship each Sunday. More and more churches have closed and others contemplate how many months they can eke out an existence.
Today the church does not face violent persecution as it had in the first century, but a dead calm. Increasingly events are scheduled on Sunday mornings ignoring the spiritual needs of those who attend worship services. The result is the same.
But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion;
and they woke him up and said to him,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
— Mark 4:38 (NRSV)
Mark’s Gospel tells of Jesus calming a storm while the Apostles attempted to cross a sea by rebuking the wind, by ordering it to be silent. Now many individuals perceive they can weather life’s storms by themselves without a church family, without a caring community of believers.
Or perhaps the Church has busied itself with internal controversies and neglected to communicate the story entrusted to it. Have we too long enjoyed the calm waters? Neglected to communicate how worshiping God positively affects our daily living? Neglected to communicate the importance of setting aside a day to connect with one another and with God?
How have you helped the church put its oars in the water so that it might continue to effectively communicate the love of God in the dead calm that culture provides?
I will have more to say about this passage on Sunday, June 21st, 2015.