Driving through Waco today, I noticed a new church. That is a frequent occurrence in Waco. In fact, I call this city “Jerusalem on the Brazos.” The church sign was curious (the picture on the left is just something funny I found on the internet); it was advertising for the “Independent Methodist Episcopal Church.” That’s a lot of adjectives!
The one that struck me the most was “Independent.” I suppose that particular congregation is not affiliated with any other congregation. I can suppose further that this independence leaves this particular congregation to formulate their own liturgy and doctrine, to construct their own Christianity.
I don’t know how else to put it, so I’ll be blunt – that’s just wrong. The Church is by no means independent. It is in the very DNA of the Church to be in communion with others, to be a community locally and globally.
For Christians, independence is not the final goal of life. In fact, the reverse is true. The whole point of the Christian life is to grow into dependence on Jesus. From there, we grow into mutual sharing and love for our neighbors. We are never independent from each other. We are responsible to one another. And if we separate ourselves, if we divvy up the Kingdom of God into little “independent” provinces, we wither and die. Life is found together.
But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the dead, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in buildings itself up in love. – Ephesians 4:15