Oneness cannot be achieved just between God and self;
rather oneness involves God,
self and others and the world around us.
It is easy to think that worship is about me and God. It is easy to rationalize that my sin is between me and God. It is easy to say that I can pray anywhere, so I don't need church. It is easy to want to believe all that, but none of it is true.
Sure, that "personal" relationship with Jesus is important, but He never intended it to stay between the two of us. In fact, Jesus is the person who insists that his followers "GO!" and teach others what they have come to understand about God. Today, belief is private..and with that sentiment so, it would seem, is our worship, prayer, confession, even God. It doesn't seem like participating in a community is all that important.
But I am coming around to the idea that not only is it biblical, it is necessary.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another, says the author of Proverbs.
On my own, I am prideful, selfish, prone to melancholy, & critical. These are only the most glaring sins that I can think of easily. Ask my husband, and I am sure he can add to the list. But that is really my point, in doing life with others, I become a little more humble-aware that I have assets as well as those liabilities, I have learned to be a little less selfish, and I have tried to tone down my critical attitude. On my own, I would not have an opportunity to practice these things, if I even got sick of myself enough to want that.
I don't think that moral growth is the only reason for community. What about safety, celebration, mentoring, shared burdens?
One really can be the loneliest number, and also the dullest, most stagnant, and depressed.
So, I admit that I may need community. Not just friends or mentors, but people who challenge me to grow, love me when I cannot love myself, call me on my foolishness, celebrate with me and expect me to do all of these things with them. Is your church like this? Living in community every day, not gathering for a passive hour and a half on Sunday?