A Guest Post, by James Roscoe
From Roman Catholic cathedrals to Baptist congregations, churches are still thriving in the 21st century. Naturally, they have a great effect on the lives of the members who attend them. In what areas exactly do people feel the presence of the church in their lives?
Going to church is more than saying prayers, although these can be a very important part of a service. Attending church provides a time to disconnect from electronics, gadgets, and gears, and really reflect on our lives and souls. Church allows anyone and everyone to make time to talk to God – whether through prayers with the rest of the group and during personal reflection time after communion.
In general, most churches take fairly strong political stances on at least a couple of issues. Some assume that people just blindly follow the lead of their churches when it comes to politics, and though this is true for part of the population, it’s not the case for all. When the church expresses political views that are different from those of some of their members, those on the other side might consider a varying viewpoint. For example, let’s say that the church is pro-life. If pro-choice members consider the issues that the church is making as valid, then they might consider changing their own minds. This is very common in many parts of the country – though it can often happen the other way around too.
People often go to church in times of great trouble or when they are dealing with agony from some sort of painful situation. Listening to the words of the minister often gives these individuals a fresh perspective on life. They may go to confession to talk about transgressions they have committed in order to relieve themselves of regret or worry. Once they’ve been absolved, healing can begin. Often, just being in the presence of a spiritual force like a congregation is enough to provide strength in hard times.
Jesus taught us to love each other, to stand by the outcasts in society, to always forgive, to help those in need and to do a myriad of other acts inspired by love. When the congregation hears these words, they are often inspired to go out and start living a life that is more a testament to Jesus. Perhaps they will volunteer at a homeless shelter to serve food on the weekends, or maybe they will be inspired to donate all of their Christmas gifts to an orphanage this year. Regardless, church is often the most common reason people are inspired to give back to their communities.
The church, whichever denomination it is that you belong to, has the power to really inspire and motivate you to change different areas of your life. If you’re feeling lost or unsure of your direction life, it would be very beneficial for you to connect with God, in order to truly understand what it means to be a Christian.
James Roscoe writes about spirituality and education. His best work can be found at christiandegreeprograms.org.