We love God, and every Sunday we become immersed in God and realize once again how great it would be to be immersed in the Holy Spirit 24/7. We regret having forgotten about him the countless times throughout the week. We’re filled with guilt, and we beat ourselves up to be better, and then we thank God for his love and mercy and grace. We swear to remember. We leave church will good intentions.
And then it fades.
We go through this week after week, year after year, and realize that we need to do something. So we decide to get away, re-align our lives, seek God, and go on a retreat. Some retreat to monasteries, some to small groups or small social bubbles, and others to the International House of Prayer or the Zadok House of Prayer. We want to learn to be better, but we need some time to do it.
The world won’t change for our retreating. All our running away and focusing on God while we’re distant from the world won’t really change us. It’s easy to focus on God 24/7 when you’ve got nothing else around. When you’re at church on Sunday morning, it all seems so simple. We won’t learn how to be in the world by living without it.
Kierkegaard claimed the church needs to be of the individual, because as an institution it had become corrupted. He said that we use the corporate church to escape responsibility and to spread around the burden. Kierkegaard suggested that we need to take responsibility as individuals and abandon this corrupted corporation. Much as I respect Kierkegaard, he was wrong.
This abandonment of the bridegroom won’t protect or help her. It won’t help us as individuals either. We can’t save the world by running from it.
We can’t avoid this life–we were born into it, as a fish is into water. We can’t retreat.