Something I have struggled with all my life is connecting with people. I have often asked God this question, why can’t I connect? I think there are a number of reasons why I have historically found it challenging to connect but many of them are tied to my mental illness, abuse and innate personality. I know I am not alone in this struggle.
So much of the church is about worshipping, studying the Bible, prayer and service. This is all important and essential. It feeds us spiritually and provides a place to connection with God. All of these are needed and wonderful. But for people like me and many others what we need is healing. How does the body of Christ play a part in the healing process? The body of Christ needs to creat a safe place for people to connect on deep emotional issues. I can do this with a counselor or doctor but I am paying them to listen. I am paying them to “connect” with me. They will never provide a loving family atmosphere for me to heal and grow.
Recently I visited a ministry called gastrochurch that provides place for people of all religions to join in a meal and discuss spiritual topics. It was a BIG blessing because I connected with strangers in a way I have not felt in a long time. I believe this can be done with many things, not just food. I hope and pray that this will be a movement within the church to providing these types of “family” safe environments for people to come as they are, no mask needed, to connect with people and allow God to heal them.
For God wants us to be connected to himself but he also wants us to be connected to the body of Christ. The body of Christ is made up of broken, imperfect people and therefore many people have been hurt by the church. For those who harbor resentment toward the body/church, I pray God would give you a heart of forgiveness and a faith in a God that is sovereign over all mistakes.