Grace and peace be with you!
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25
It’s been an interesting start to the 2022/2023 season at church. Attendance at worship has been inconsistent and things are feeling a bit rough around the edges. After two years of disruption, it’s hard to get into the swing of things. As I have mentioned to some folks, it’s easy to stop things/events/ habits, but it is very hard to start them up again.
We’ve also had our ups and downs trying to livestream the worship service. When it works, it’s a lovely way to reach out to those who are immuno-compromised; to those who are caring for someone who is vulnerable; or for those who have to isolate. However, I can also understand how staying home and watching the service in your pajamas is a tempting choice. But let’s see if I can make the argument that worship is actually better face-to-face.
Now, I write this as an introvert. I know how much I would just like to stay home sometimes, and I expect that’s the case for some of you as well. But here are some reasons why I like being at church:
1. The Incarnation: We are people who live in our bodies. We experience the world through all five of our senses. In fact, this embodied life was so special that God came to us taking the form of a human so that God could speak to us, experience life with us, help us see that God is indeed in all things. God’s incarnation is what I experience when I meet with and worship with our community.
Our presence also supports the value of corporate worship for everyone in attendance. Our smiles, our time to catch up with one another, and our voices lifted in song, make real the Spirit’s presence to others who have come. This is what it means to live as little Christ’s for one another. Our attendance at church is an embodied reminder of the presence of God. We represent the unseen God to one another. I am not my own. I am a member of something bigger than myself—Christ’s body on earth.
2. Mutual Support and Encouragement: When we think of ourselves as children of God we put ourselves into the context of family. When we show up at church we are contributing to the well being of all our members. It takes time to build relationships and that’s what we are doing when we spend week after week together in praise to God. As members of Augsburg we are participants, not consumers. We participate in building up the family of God and God’s reign.
Additionally, when we are together we encourage each other to set our hearts and minds toward a Godly life. I’ve always said that Church is like a support group; we come together on a weekly basis to orient ourselves in the direction of Jesus and when one member is having doubts or troubles, the rest of us pray for and support that person, until there comes a time when they can stand on their own again.
3. My commitment to the participation in the Reign of God: The world has big problems and sometimes I can feel overwhelmed by the immensity and severity of it all. Coming to my church community reminds me that I don’t have to encounter these things alone. I might not be able to change much by myself, but in the community we can feed multiple families, we can build up communities, and we can make a real change for justice. Being in a community helps me think beyond myself, and helps me remember that whatever trial is upon us, God’s reign will come to us.
These are some of the reasons that I go to church. I hope that I have encouraged you to think about creating a new habit, or re-creating an old habit, and join us on Sunday mornings.
Peace and God’s blessing be upon you,