A recent story in the Telegram outlines the challenges faced by the congregation of Cochrane Street United Church.
The fact is that Christian churches — regardless of either the tradition they are a part of or their location — are struggling financially.
I suggest that grappling with the financial problems which confront churches, including my own, affords those of us who are members of the affected congregations with an excellent opportunity to put into practice those Christian principles which we hear preached from a pulpit and in which we, as Christians, profess to believe.
What a tremendous opportunity to minister. Minister to what you ask? Well, we need to minister to the fact that we believe that we Christians are the church and our bodies are, indeed, as the Bible says, the “Temple of the Lord.”
Furthermore, Christ himself declared that not one stone of the temple would remain atop another in the time before the second coming of Christ.
As Christians who profess to believe what Christ teaches, as recorded in scripture, instead of bemoaning the painful reality that we are struggling to keep the doors of our present places of worship open — and may not be able to do so for much longer — we should be mindful of the fact that as long as there is one Christian left standing, that God, working in and through that individual, will remain both a physical and spiritual presence in the world. We Christians would do well to remember that during his earthly ministry, Jesus fed and healed more people on hillsides, addressing both their physical and spiritual need for healing and nourishment, than he ever did within the confines of the temple.
In short, the Christian church should not be afraid to reinvent itself, if we are to survive. If that means we meet in a smaller building or in a park, so be it, so long as God’s will is made known to people in the world, through the preaching of the gospel, and God’s work is carried out by Christians inspired by God to love and serve God by loving and serving our neighbour.