One reason why we should keep showing up to church

In recent months I have read an increasing number of blogs that tell me why people don't go to church on Sunday's any longer. The content of these articles varies wildly depending on the author's own experience, anger or persuasions. In one article the church decline is due entirely to the embracing of an oppressive patriarchy which is killing the vitality of faith communities. In another it is the failure to engage with social media. In others it is the wrong music, too much moral teaching, not enough moral teaching, a straying from the traditional gospel or even an adherence to the traditional gospel. In each of the articles my response has always been that most who write an article like that miss the nuance of the discussion at hand. They say 'church' as if it is one easily definable thing in every place and then give their diagnosis as if there is one cause of decline. The real issue is much more nuanced than that. 

I find far fewer articles telling me why we should continue to gather together. Why should we stay in church. There are a few, I've read them, some were very good and others were great. As I've gotten older I've realised that things don't always get better by pointing out the faults with them. Intelligent critical thinking involves drawing out the good and improving on the bad, not just pointing at the negatives. 

So back to seasoning. One of my favourite sayings of Jesus is that we are the salt of the earth. When talking of those who follow Him, he describes them as the seasoning of the world. As I thought about our community on Sunday as we marked the start of a new season together, perhaps as an accidental play on that word, I thought that we gather in order to season our world to the best of our ability. 

I love to cook a roast, but I am rarely content to cook it just on it's own. I prefer to marinade it in some way. Often I will gather some herbs and spices, salt and pepper, some red wine etc. and smother the meat in it. In time the meat takes on the flavour of the mixed marinade. I am salivating at the thought. 

When we gather as church the room we are in becomes the mixing bowl. Some of us come as salt, some as rosemary, others as wine and others as pepper. As we share in community together the good of one rubs onto the other, the salt takes on a little rosemary, pepper and wine. The wine becomes flavoured with the other three. We gather and the good of one of us becomes distinguishable on the others. Then off we go, back into the world we are the seasoning of. 

It was good to be together on Sunday. It is a good thing to do. Let us keep gathering together and allowing the greatness of those we gather with to be absorbed into us. Let us be people who turn up ready to share the good within us with those we are with. Then let us go back to our homes, our families, our jobs, our local pubs and schools and season the world around us with the goodness that God has poured out upon us through those we are sharing this adventure of Church with. We do things better when do them together.