“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.  For the body does not consist of one member but of many.  If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.   Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” (1 Corinthians 12)

At a recent basketball game, a friend came up to me and showed me this story which is called “The Silent Sermon”. 

A member of a certain parish, who previously had been attending services regularly, suddenly stopped coming to church. After a few weeks, the priest decided to pay him a visit.

The priest found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for the priest's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited. The priest made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning log. After some minutes, the priest took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone.

Then he sat back in the chair, still silent. The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As one lone ember's flame flicked and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon, it was cold and lifeless. The priest glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave; he slowly stood up. Picked up the cold dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the priest reached the door to leave, his host said, with a tear running down his cheek, "Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday."

Christians are called to belong, not just to believe. God created us for community. That is what the "Ecclesia" or Church is all about. It is fellowship in prayer with one another. We are formed to be part of God's family and none of us can fulfill God's purposes isolated and by ourselves removed from the fellowship of the church. Our alone we are as dying "embers" cut off from the sacred fire of fellowship which gives warmth and light.

It is a fact that if an organ is somehow severed from its body, it will shrivel and die. It cannot exist on its own, and neither can we. Disconnected and cut off from the life blood of our faith, our spiritual life will wither and eventually cease to exist. This is why the first symptom of spiritual decline is usually inconsistent or infrequent attendance at worship services and the life enhancing gatherings of fellow believers.

If you think your attendance is unimportant, you are wrong.  Remember what Paul said in Romans, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”  It’s hard to be a Christian by ourselves.  It is much easier when we gather together.  Come to church!  Be a part of the fire!

Your friend in Christ, 

Pastor Ron