Heard this the other day on a podcast from Mars Hill (Steve Argue speaking this time – A Spiritually Shaped Life, Feb 27th 2011 )…
“In an authentic community we let our guard down to be honest with each other…As we gather we will say, “we will sing together”, but there are some of us in this community who will say “today I can’t sing”, and do you know what we say as a community? “That’s ok, because we are the community of God and we will sing for you”.
There will be times that we try to gather as a community and we will say, “we will pray”, and there will be some people here who will say, “I can’t pray today”, and as a community of God we say, “that’s ok, because we will pray for you, that’s what we do”.
There will be people that will say, “as we come together we will have faith and we will believe” and there will be some of us here on this particular day going, “I don’t have the energy to believe. I have doubts that are plaguing my faith, and I don’t know what to do”, and as a community who are authentic with one another we say, “that that’s ok, we will believe and have faith for you”. That’s the church of Jesus Christ”.
Something in this quote resonated with me – the authenticity that Argue talks about is real, raw and totally honest. That sometimes we can’t sing the words that everyone else seems to be getting lost in, sometimes we struggle to believe when we hear the stories of how others have experienced God this week. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be there. It’s vital – when our faith is slipping away it’s so important to be around the community of faith, being carried along at times by our brothers and sisters.
An inauthentic faith is one that doesn’t embrace doubt, that doesn’t embrace moments when we wonder whether it’s all worthwhile. But we can’t walk away from the community when those moments arise. We have to keep walking with them, no matter how painful that may feel.
Faith isn’t simply an individual pursuit…we can’t do it on our own…we need the faith of those around us to help us make sense of what is going on…and that isn’t any kind of failure.
It’s who we’re designed to be.
It’s why we ‘do’ church.