I must confess that lately, I not taken much joy in blogging; reading them or writing them. My attitude is due largely because my parents are getting older and facing some health concerns. Also, my local church has been left shocked at the unexpected, serious diagnosis of one of our members. It is sobering.
In the last month, what has been online and in my social media feeds has not felt all that compelling in the light of the circumstances around me. Blogging has just felt so meaningless in the light of my parents' issues, and this trial which this family at my church is about to walk through. It's a shame that it is only when crisis comes that our attention gets turned back to local matters. I have been thinking a lot lately about how easily distracted I am, paying more attention to Christians online than my local church.
When people get sick, we pray. We take food. We drive them to appointments. When people hurt, we comfort them. When there is a loss, we mourn with them. When there are needs, we meet them if we can. We are not perfect. But this is the kind of church I want to be in, and my being a member there means that I have a responsibility to it. Recently, I was asked to take on some extra teaching responsibilities because there is a need. To my shame, I hesitated a little. I had my excuses: I'm starting seminary in March, I'm already teaching, I have my reading and my blogging. But I had no peace with the decision. I agreed to help. There is a need, I can meet it, so I will.
Romans 12:5 says "so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually, members of one another."
We are part of one another, and yes that includes people we know online. But how much more does it apply to the people God has given us right now, right where we are? God has placed us in our churches for his good purposes. How will we contribute?
Christian woman, look where you are standing. Is there someone who needs you? Is there a way you can contribute to your local church? Is there a gift you are not using there, but you'll use it elsewhere? With the internet collapsing boundaries between people, it can be tempting to comfort ourselves that we are nurturing the body of Christ by participating online, whether through social media or blogs; and we are. But surely our local churches are still important. We may feel like we have a message to share with the church at large, but let us not neglect our local churches. I'm afraid I have been guilty of this more than I would like to admit. The strength of the church world wide begins with the strength of each individual church, whether in a big city, or a small town like mine.
Where do you stand? Who is standing next to you? Who is in need? How can you serve? It's a question we should ask regularly. God has not placed us where we are carelessly or randomly. It's because that is where he wants us.