changing teams or out of form, but once you leave a team with no intention of playing again you are no longer a centre-forward. A centre-forward becomes something you were, not something you are. And to believe that you're a centre-forward when you have never played football in your life is simply self-delusion. So it is, in matters of faith; a Christian simply is part of the church.
St Paul's analogy
St Paul uses the analogy of a human body: 'For in the one Spirit we were all baptised into one body...now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it'.
It's not that when we come to faith we have the option whether to be part of the body or not. Rather in coming to faith, God made us part of one body: the two go hand in hand. The truth is that God knows that we need each other if our faith is to grow and remain strong.
As the writer of the Biblical book Hebrews exhorts: ' And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together,as is the habit of some, but instead let us encourage one another.'
Wishing you every blessing,
Every now and again someone comes up with a phrase that sticks in my mind. One such phrase came from a sermon (I know what you're thinking, nothing memorable could possibly come from a sermon ... but it did!) preached over 20 years ago by the Revd Dr Brian Meardon. He said: ' In the Bible you seldom read about me and God, it is always us and God and me as part of.'
People sometimes say to me that you don' thave to go to church to be a Christian. Now there is some truth in that statement. It may be impossible to get to church, from time to time, or there may be higher priorities like nursing a sick relative. But usually what lies behind the remark is either embarrassment; they haven't been coming to church, or it's the notion that faith is something private between them and God. It's nobody else' s business. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Playing football on your own
Saying that you don't have belong to the church to be a Christian is like saying you can be a centre-forward without being part of a football team. It's meaningless. A centre-forward is part of a football team; you can't be a centre-forward on your own.That's not to say you have to play every time the team plays, you may be injured or