A Body of Faithful People

During the early days of Covid-19 when we were sheltering in place, I yearned for human connection. Rather than in-person visits, I had to be content with Facebook live stream or Zoom meetings with friends. I live alone so there wasn’t someone to share the space with me during the first days of the pandemic.

One thing I changed while sheltering in place was I decided to not return to the megachurch I was attending before Covid. I am back at my small, ragamuffin, frayed a bit on the edges church where I had been attending for several years prior to my megachurch experience. It just feels right. A smaller place has been good for me. On a good day, before Covid-19, the church averaged about 80 to 100 folks. Due to the whole pandemic thing, with state restrictions on sizes of gatherings and required face masks, we are lucky to have 20 or 30 souls on a given Sunday.

One good thing about a small church is that I can look into the eyes of my pastor when he speaks. At the megachurch, it was easier to stare at the big screens on each side of the stage. Conversely, the pastor can see me from his perch at the front of the building. Am I fading out? Am I reading stuff on my smartphone rather than listening intently. (Yeah, not a good habit, but occasionally I do this.)

Another good thing about a small church is that I know the names of the people in the room. All of them, or close to all of them, anyway. And they know my name. Like the old refrain from the TV show, Cheers, it’s good to be where everyone knows your name. If I miss a Sunday, somebody is bound to run into me during the week. That somebody is likely to ask why I wasn’t there. I don’t mind. I don’t feel like they are being nosy or judgmental. They just care about me.

That brings me to the meaning of the word, church. It derives from the Greek word, ekklesia, which means an assembly of called out ones. It can be also described as a body of faithful people. That’s what each one of us needs, a body of faithful people. A friend pointed out to me the meaning of ekklesia as a body of faithful people this weekend.

Your body of faithful people may or may not be a group that you see on Sunday in a church building. It may be a group of devoted friends and family that make up your particular “tribe.” They might be Catholic (big C), as in Roman Catholic or catholic (little c) meaning the church universal. Maybe your tribe doesn’t have a particular creed that you share in common. You may just be committed to each other, not necessarily to faith in God.

I often read that loneliness is one of the most common problems in our nation today. I think that finding an ekklesia, a body of faithful people, is something that can alleviate that sense of being alone. Loneliness is not just a problem for single people. For married or single people, or divorced or in a committed relationship, loneliness can be a scourge.

Personally, I believe that being part of a church is good for me. The God element is important to me as part of my community. I want to always stay in fellowship with other Christians. However way you do it, find your ekklesia, your group of faithful people.

4 thoughts on “A Body of Faithful People

  1. I fully understand your urge to find a smaller church to be actually be part of a body of fellow believers rather than being one more fan in the stadium. Our local church here dwindles to a handful in the summer. This summer there have been seven of us on a good day. All of us longed to break free from our self-isolation to share fellowship and to learn more about God’s love.

    I have now been away from my fellow believers for a month. Unfortunately, the local flooding kept us from meeting yesterday. I miss the group.

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  2. I have attended services of various denominations at mega churches, and even watched some online, and they seem more spectacle or entertainment than venues for spiritual connections. One church in Dallas, whose service I watched online, had such an elaborate program—a 15-member orchestra and a chorus twice that size, plus jumbotrons and the whole bit—that I expected a chorus line to appear during communion. Here is San Miguel, particularly near where we live, RC services are dreary and formulaic, I suspect because there is such a shortage of priests, that some have ten or twelve parishes to visit every week, so there no intimacy. It’s a wham-bang kind of liturgy. So I’m down to Pray-As-You-Go, even if it’s just me and the Jesuits in the UK, which is fine right now.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post.

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    1. It’s not easy to find a good fit when looking for a church. I suspect if Jesus were in the flesh he wouldn’t feel comfortable in most of our churches. I’m glad you’re gaining something from those Jesuits in the UK. Lately, I have returned to the devotionals put out daily from the Boise Vineyard Church. I have been part of the Vineyard Church movement for over 15 years, maybe close to 20 now. But pray as you go was a mainstay of mine for awhile. I like it, too.

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