A Fundamental question

Why Church?

What does church give you that a walk in the forest doesn’t?

The Church is a place where spiritual hunger finds healthy food

All of us have met people who describe themselves as spiritual, or people of faith.  Yet, you have probably noticed that fewer and fewer of them go to church. They are open to something bigger than the material world—open to believing that there is more to life than meets the eye. They sense this bigger reality when they walk in the forest, or play with their children, or experience grief and suffering. Yet, they struggle to see how religion fits in with that sense of deeper meaning. It’s a great question, and something that churches haven’t always been great at answering. So, why Church? What does Church give you that a walk in the forest doesn’t?

There are many reasons for joining the Church. People form friendships there. They join projects to improve their community. They find avenues for using gifts which go underused elsewhere (like singing, for example). These are all important parts of Church, but there’s something more profound than that. Church connects us with the deeper reality people speak about when they say they are spiritual.

Think about it this way. Spirituality is the name we give to the hunger we have for something more—for the deeper reality we sense is behind everything. But like all hungers, it can lead us to fill ourselves with things that don’t satisfy. So, when our stomach grumbles, we might grab a bag of chips or a chocolate bar. These fill us, but we know they don’t really satisfy us. They leave us feeling no more fulfilled than when we started. So, we turn to recipe books and nutritionists to point us to the foods that our body really needs.

Church is like that. When we go to Church, we are saying yes to our spiritual hunger and acknowledging that it needs to be satisfied. But we go there  knowing other things haven’t fully done the job. We go hoping that Church will point us to what does satisfy. The Church believes that our deepest satisfaction only comes through experiencing the love of our Creator–the one who made the forests whose beauty fill us with longing. The Church tells and retells the stories of how God has acted in people’s lives, and in nature and in history. Through those stories, we are taught to hear God speaking to us today—calling us to look to Him as the place where our deepest hungers are satisfied.

In other words, the Church knows we crave deeper meaning, and points us towards the One who created the beauty and goodness which make life meaningful. These are the things which satisfy, because they are gifts which come from our Creator. Church helps us to value these things, and form habits which help us stay connected to the deeper meaning which lies behind it all.