“There it is again,” I thought, looking up from the pages of ‘Reform’ magazine. By ‘it’ I meant the admonition, often found in Christian writing and addresses these days, to leave our comfort zone. Often the expression ‘comfort zone’ refers to the everyday life of the church family and is used in a rather derogatory way to mean what is comfortable and easy.
But, it seems to me, life in a church fellowship is not at all easy. There is a spiritual link between every member of such a body which often flowers into friendship and supportive relationship although, since we are finite beings, our relationships will be stronger with some members than with others. In this situation it becomes natural and almost inevitable to obey St Paul’s command to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” All this greatly enriches our life, but it is not cosy.
Of course, I do not deny the urgent need to look beyond the church family, to serve those who are still outside and to seek to communicate the gospel. I just feel that ‘comfort zone’ is not a very appropriate expression.
It would be good to remember that ‘to comfort’ is derived from the Latin verb meaning ‘to strengthen’, and has the same root meaning as ‘fortitude’ and ‘fortress’. In that sense, the church is indeed a place of immeasurable comfort.
(Do you agree with Sheila? Is our church life in any sense too cosy or comfortable? Please let us know what you think by using the Comments facility below.)