Michael Daly CJ Blog

A Companion of Jesus

Church without walls is not Church without people.

I read and hear Christians who tell me that they don’t go to a church any more. They tell me they have been freed from religion, institutionalism and all that mumbo jumbo and are now free. They tell me they might go back to some church some day but they don’ believe it is necessary to belong to a fellowship as they themselves are church.

I am a radical believer, but my radical freedom is not a licence for stupidity, sectarianism or separation. Church is always relational and that comes from and is rooted in love. Love must, can only be, when it is expressed in community. It can never be self centred or self serving. I may not agree with my Catholic brethren on a number of issues and I see them in bondage to an institutionalised structure, but they are family and I love them. I may not see eye to eye with all my Calvinist sisters and brothers, bound in the institutionalised structures of Protestantism, but they are my sisters and brothers and I love them. I may not like the lifestyle of the people I work with or travel on the bus or train with, caught as they are in the institutional hedonism of the day, but they are children of God made in His image and I love them. God loves them far more than I can ever fathom and His grace is way out of my league. He still blesses His children in the Institutional Church systems…whether I like it or not!

There is no such thing as a cyber space church as some seem to be promoting. There is no such thing as a Christian who avoids the company of other Christians (or for that matter, non Christians). When, ‘two or three are gathered,’ is not translatable as, ‘when I am on my own‘. You may certainly pray behind your closed door to your Father in heaven, but when it comes to the Body of Christ, you cannot be a self serving individual unit. A body is made up of many parts inter-connected and working together. The gathering together of the saints is not an option it is the heart of love. It flows from love.

Jesus loved individuals and had compassion for crowds of individuals. He still does!

Jesus never stopped attending the synagogue or temple to participate in it’s institutional rites and liturgy. Jesus never told people to keep away from it. The disciples continued to go to the temple and synagogues until the time they were driven out and barred. It wasn’t because that is where they met God, He was with them always…in them. Yes, they met together as ‘Church’ in their homes, and so can we. But we are called to be light to the world’s darkness and this includes being light to those caught in the dark web of the institutional church, we cannot just hide it away for ourselves.

My heart’s desire is to be like Jesus. I desire to love those I disagree with and all those who throw me out as a heretic and flog me for preaching Good News. To pour out myself for them that they too might one day be freed from the tyranny and oppression of the institutional church systems and be free to run and dance in the glorious love of Abba, who is Father Son and Spirit, is the desire of my heart.

To be honest , I suppose I do fear, that my new found freedom could easily draw others around me (with similar views), into making a total reactionary break from the institutional church of today. Then without knowing it, we either become another institutional church system, another denomination, group, or church body; the very thing we were freed from…or, we just become a self serving individualistic body of folk (a sect) which withdraws from everyone, except those who hold to our understanding as free believers….but then…. not so free after all!

Church without walls is not Church without people. Church without people is an oxymoron. I think I need to heed Jesus’ words, “Love one another as I have loved you“. That’s where it starts and where it ends.

Michael Daly
Living loved
6th March 2010

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March 6, 2010 - Posted by | Thoughts

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