For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. Romans 12:4,5 NIV
I think it is safe to say that we all want to feel that we belong. Deep inside we want to be with other people, especially those that act and think like us. The feeling is expressed eloquently by Joan Baez in her 1960s song, which has the lyrics:
No man is an island,
No man stands alone,
Each man's joy is joy to me,
Each man's grief is my own.
We need one another,
So I will defend,
Each man as my brother,
Each man as my friend.
Paul reminds us that we belong to each other, so the theme of the song is not a new one. The truth is universal, so we join all kinds of clubs from our school days onwards. There are all sorts of clubs: Stamp, Chess, Fitness, Science, Swimming, Bowling, Walking, Camera, Sewing, and the list could go on. One of the benefits of these clubs is that members usually stay in touch between meetings, because they get along with each other. They feel they belong to each other in some way because of shared interests.
Hold on, isn’t church a bit like a club too? We have regular meetings with other people we like and who share our faith. We sing and pray together, and chat before and after our meetings, just like the other clubs. But is that where it ends? Does it only happen for one hour a week, and all the other days we don’t feel that we belong? Church is not a club, but next time you are there, take a look round. There are hurting and vulnerable people attending who may need a phone call or a card in between those weekly get togethers. In case you are wondering, I don’t want my weekly meetings to become a club. However, I would like it to be the kind of church Scripture says it should be. After all, there may be some good folks who might just be ‘longing to belong’.