The pastor of our church wrote an interesting article about, well you can see it for yourself, if you go here.
My friend, who had cancer and has passed away had only one prayer and that was for her daughter. She wanted to live long enough to see that she was "churched." Her prayer was granted. Recovering from the first episode of cancer, she lived long enough to achieve that goal.
It is true that outward signs do not give us the faith we as Christians possess, and it is true that if you took them all away, we would still be Christ bearers, as He lives within us.
Raised as a child of the sixties, I saw the absurdity of gathering wealth in structured buildings, while people were hungry and needy. Church is far more responsible for the well-being of our neighbor. We are called to the ministry of feeding and responding to the needs of those who have little or none. I often spoke of this to my grandmother, saying it isn't the size and majestic dwelling of the church that mattered. Well this year, that majestic church almost closed, due to lack of participants. The faith of some has dwindled in this area as church attendance has been on the decline. Unfortunately, some churches were taken away, and some have left, joining churches in other area towns. Faith cannot be found in materialism. Disputes arose as to who gets what and where will the money (thinking it theirs) go. It should have never been about a building in the first place, but for the good of the church itself, the continuation of the faithful.
My view has always been, do not break the backs of people with grandeur of a place. The focus must always be on the worship. Having the best organ, and marble around, you saw where that got them. God does not want your money, He wants your heart. He wants you to care for His creations and to live in peace with yourself and your neighbor.
Growing up then, meant you and your friends shared a common belief, and could celebrate it together, openly without concern of offending other's who had a different belief system. As a child, one of my favorite memories was to visit the creche, nativity scene that was an outdoor scene, with live animals. This was a Christian town and we all were faith filled, putting God first and not activities, such as is the case today, as some put little importance on "God first".
Going to church I heard the Gospel message and was filled with the faith that comes first by hearing the Word of God. Many of my relatives who came from communist countries, had no faith to share with the family, as they did not believe, and were not baptized, and that is where it all begins.
Those that believe that faith can be snuffed out by closing churches, or not allowing the symbols of the faith, given to us by our for fathers are deluded. Christ is the head of our church, and our faith is within us, and it is commanded and taught by Christ in (Matthew 28:19-20) "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
One of my favorite passages to date, is when Jesus, speaking to Peter says the following found in (Matthew 16:18) "On this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it."
The true rock and foundation is Christ, not Peter, but to the confession of Peter and his faith is the promise that the gates of Hades is overcome and Christ is Risen, and death is no more.
This is the promise that we need to receive, treasure and share with the world, that in having faith in Him, we too can live now and forever. Your treasure is within.