If God Stopped Showing Up

If God were to stop showing up to church on Sundays, would we even notice? If God just stayed home (metaphorically, of course), would it affect what we do in church in the least? Or would we just keep going about our business anyway, blissfully unaware of God’s absence?

That’s the question this quote from Oswald Chambers raises for me:

Are you drawing your life from any other source than God Himself? If you are depending upon anything but Him, you will never know when He is gone.

Chambers, I’m sure, meant this far more personally than I am taking it, but I can’t get past its implications for us as good Methodists and “church people.”

Do we really need God anymore to do church? Would we notice if God was gone? Would it really change how we go about our business as church?

I wonder. Is this what’s wrong with the Methodist church (and a myriad other denominations)? Has God left the building, and we haven’t even noticed?

And, as Chambers points out, are we blissfully unaware of God’s absence precisely because we are dependent on so many other things for our livelihood? Business plans, growth strategies, consultant reports, marketing campaigns, re-visioning sessions. All of these seem to have more to do with the resurgence of the United Methodist Church these days than a fresh movement of the Holy Spirit, let alone a good old fashioned campmeeting revival.

So, I wonder. Are we depending on the wrong things? Are we putting our faith in the powers of this world rather than the power of God? And might that not explain the sheer spiritual deadness of so many of our congregations? God left a long time ago because we no longer needed Him, and we haven’t even noticed He was gone. Is that what’s happened to our United Methodist Church?

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