The lyrics of a spiritual say, “You must have that true religion, you must have your soul converted.” Jesus told the woman at the well, “Those who worship the Father must worship in Spirit and in truth.” This suggests to us that the practice of our faith must possess an authentic quality. It tells us that our worship, work and witness for God must be based in truth -- the truth of a real relationship with Jesus Christ. This relationship must be personal and intimate and requires a deep and profound connection between each of us and the living God.
Many today are questioning the validity and value of the church as an institution. Many believe they do not need the church in order to have faith. In fact, many suggest the institutional reality of the church is a hindrance to a real relationship with God. There is little value placed on the benefits of participation with other believers in the life and ministry of the church. This has much to do with what people believe about the church, many of whom have never ventured inside its walls. Hence, the church must find a way to make Christ real in every generation, no matter what it takes.
Is your faith real? Is your connection to Jesus Christ based in intimate connection and daily communication? If it is, then you must share it with others and make it so tangible that people will see the church as the living manifestation of the Kingdom of God. Make the church real for all who you meet by allowing them to see the living Christ in you. When you do, the church as an institution will be real and undeniably authentic.
Rev. Paul Hobson Sadler, Sr, Senior Pastor
Mt. Zion Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
10723 Magnolia Drive
Cleveland, OH 44106