We are entering the summer months. This year Pentecost is on June 5th. Pentecost is seen as the birth of the church. So I thought I would write to you today about why we should go to church. We are coming out of a long period of isolation due to the COVID pandemic. During that time we were not allowed to gather together for worship. We are fortunate to technology where we could at least hear sermons. Now we are back together and also offer live streaming of our worship services. While listening to sermons or worship music isn’t a bad thing, if we think we’re just missing the sermon when we miss church, we have lost the point of church itself. When we skip attending church services we miss more than just worship music, sermons, and announcements, because church was meant to be so much more than just that.
If the church isn’t just a building or a sermon or worship music, what is the truest picture of God’s purpose for it? Let’s go back to that first Pentecost as recorded by Luke in Acts 2:42-47. “All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, and to fellowship, and to the sharing of meals, and to prayer.” The sharing of meals includes the Lord’s Supper. The church takes part in the Lord’s Supper. A church includes teaching, fellowship and prayer. But the main theme of this passage about the early church is that these were people who shared together. They shared each other’s burdens. They shared meals. They shared recourses and talents. The picture we see of the church in Acts is one of deeply rooted community. And community can’t be reached in isolation.
Sometimes we reduce church to just a building or a timeslot of an hour and a half on Sundays. When we do, it’s much easier to justify skipping out on church. If we see church as a healing, relational tool, it becomes much harder for us to stay away. I believe that if on days we haven’t felt like going to church or a Bible study, but show up anyway, we discover that God speaks to places in our hearts that needed to hear His voice the most. So I encourage you, if you are not attending church, start by just showing up. God will meet you there.
You might be reading this and bristling because you have been made to feel guilt and shame for not connecting with a church. Maybe you grew up with a legalistic view of the church like stuff you need to be doing to be a good Christian. Sometimes it feels easier to make church a task than to let God fix our brokenness through community with others. In order to be healed we must first admit that we are sick and it is often easier to pretend that we have it all together than admit we need the Healer.
I’ve found a quote from C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity applicable, “Usually it is those who know Him that bring Him to others. That is why the church, the whole body of Christians showing Him to one another, is so important.”
True church is the place where honesty and love happens. It’s where we come face to face with other people and admit there are things about the Christian life that are hard. It’s where we encounter brokenness-in each other and in ourselves, and step closer instead of stepping away. It’s where we celebrate the important and silly things together. It’s where we learn from God’s word, serve Him and worship together. I pray you find that place at Our Redeemer. I really do. Because I know that God can and will change your life through the church. He sure changed mine!