The following is a devotion written by author Philip Yancey for The Daily Bread, RBC):
Winston Churchill once said that he related to the church rather like a flying buttress: He supported it from the outside. (A flying buttress is an external support that reinforces the walls of old cathedrals.) I tried that strategy for a while, after coming to believe Christian doctrine sincerely and committing myself to God.
I am not alone. Fewer people attend church on Sunday than claim to follow Christ. Some feel burned by a former experience. Others simply “get nothing out of church.” Why bother?
Today, I could hardly imagine life without church. Church has filled a need for me that can’t be met in any other way. An early-church leader wrote, “The virtuous soul that is alone . . . is like the burning coal that is alone. It will grow colder rather than hotter.”
Christianity is not a purely intellectual, internal faith. It can be lived only in community. At a deep level, I sense that church contains something I desperately need. Whenever I abandoned church for a time, I found that I was the one who suffered. My faith faded, and the crusty shell of lovelessness grew over me again. I grew colder rather than hotter.
And so, my journeys away from church have always circled back to the church.