Worship vs Church
We were out of town this last weekend. If I had planned a little better, we would have gone to church Sunday morning at a United Methodist Congregation somewhere close to where we were, but the planning came too late and the services started too early.
I was up earlier than the rest of the family and spent some time knitting and listening to podcasts. I chose to listen to Adam Hamilton's sermon from the Sunday before. It was a great sermon, and sitting near the lake, listening to his words, it felt like worship.
What it didn't feel like, though, was church. It occurred to me, listening, that there is a difference. I can worship alone, beside a lake, listening to the words of a pastor spoken a week before in Kansas. I'm certain God is there with me. But it isn't church.
Church requires other people. We were made to be in relationship. Church -- the body of Christ -- is bigger than any one of us. We can't be part of church without being with the church. We can worship, and it can be an experience of the near presence of God, but we need church. We need to be part of the body of Christ.