When people ask me, what is church for? I check with them, you do know the reason why mountain climbers rope themselves together don’t you? The answers to the questions are related. Mountain climbers are roped together — not for safety — but to keep the sane ones from going home. So it is with the church.
Life together is the main way God has chosen for being with us.
Church is the place where we know God or turn our back on God, depending on whether we come to know or turn our back on each other. We all know that churches can be as cliquey as a middle school lunchroom. The debates of whether to stand for the anthem or which lives matter - be they black lives, refugee lives or all lives pour into the church from the streets with precious little attention paid to what scripture has to say.
That’s why it is a good thing to be roped together. One reason we sign up for the church gig is to get over ourselves – to dissolve our self-importance into a larger work. When we’re roped together we expand our repertoire of questions about the way things should be in the culture we live in. In a healthy church, conversation about what the privileged owe the poor is made local and urgent. People are roped together to help meet needs based on biblical leadings - not political platforms or social media trends.
We discover the truth that we live in a world where miracles can happen, that our lives are enchanted.
We learn that the cure for tiredness is not rest as much as living wholeheartedly.
We learn to see that the opposite to love is not hate but expediency, which diminishes our compassion for one another.
It’s a roped togetherness that teaches us to trust that God still speaks, that angels visit us, and coincidences can be nudges from the Holy Spirit.
Roped together we participate in the cheerfulness that accompanies a way of life that needs very little, gives away much, and knows what enough feels like.
Truth is every one of us is tied up with some group. The question we need to ask ourselves is: Are we roped to something that helps us to give and receive love?