What is worship and why we should, and shouldn’t, keep going
One Glorious Sunday
Let me describe for you a Sunday I had a few months ago. My wife and I walked down to the gathering. We were greeted by smiling faces of people about our age. We walked into an old, beautiful building and sat while we waited for things to begin. Music played in the background. Families chatted and shared. When the service began the music was on-point. The sermon was the best I had heard in a long time. I was challenged, convicted, and comforted by the Gospel. There was a time of greeting and one couple behind us introduced themselves and welcomed us in. They told us how wonderful the church had been and how happy they were to be a part of things. We sang a few more songs, and then we left.
I was on a high the rest of the day. It was a little snippet of heaven on earth.
One Typical Sunday
Now, let me describe for you a typical Sunday. I’m tired. I drag myself out of bed. I’m thinking about what I have to do later that afternoon. I’m trying to remember who I told myself I would talk to at worship and what problems I meant to solve. I sit in the pew and the first song flies by. I barely hear it. Since I’m the pastor I’m supposed to say a few things. I do. Since I’m the pastor I know that the sermon is just ok. At least no one fell asleep. I leave church tired. Things to do. Places to go. There is no high. Heaven still seems far away.
So, why do I go to church?
Let’s start with why the reasons why I don’t go to church
- I don’t go to church to feel a spiritual high. Those moments are great, but they are few and far between and they don’t last. I thank God when they come, but they are not promised and they definitely can’t be manufactured. I once heard someone say, “I know it was a good Sunday at church when I cry”. Well, for me, that would discount a whole lot of Sundays. God works through the mundane, boring, and every-day moments of our lives just as much as the big, bold, and emotional ones.
- I don’t go to church because of all the smiling faces. At my church, there are actually lots of smiling faces. I love that there are. But, that’s not why I go. Because if those smiles would turn into tears or frowns, I would still go. And I would still be just as blessed.
- I don’t go to church to get God off my back. The burden of my sin is much too heavy for God to be appeased by my mere weekly attendance. Showing up on Sunday doesn’t check a box that makes God pleased with me for the rest of the week.
- I don’t go to church because I can’t find Jesus anywhere else. The truth is, there are lots of ways to stay connected to God throughout the week. I can pray by myself, I can read the Word on my own, and I can even listen to teachings, sermons, and podcasts from my phone.
- I don’t go to church to get my weekly marching orders. Yes, we go to church and hear God’s Law and to learn about His ways, but that’s not the primary reason to show up.
I go to church because
- God commands it. God tells us in Hebrews 10:25 to not stop meeting together as some are in the habit of doing. We need it. The other people there need us. If this were the only reason, I suppose it would be enough. When God tells you to do something, you do it.
- There are gifts there I need. I come to church because I am a sinner, and I need grace. And in worship that’s what God gives. God gives us grace through His Word that we speak, recite, and sing. Through His Supper which H so freely lays before us. Through the baptisms He performs on young and old alike. I don’t come to church because I’m holy – but because I need to be made Holy by the Holy Son of God’s sacrifice and gifts.
- I need a re-orientation. I spend 99% of my life consumed by myself: my needs, my worries, my happiness. I come to church so God can re-orientate me and to hear the reminders of the bigger, greater things around me. I go to church because of the angels and archangels that grace our presence. I show up because sometimes I need a good hit over the head. I need someone to wake me up. I come because I know I need the reminder that I’m not “all that” but that Jesus is – and more. I need to be re-oriented to God’s ways, His grace, and His Heavenly kingdom. I need the reminder that there are other people out there, who often have much bigger problems than me, that I need to love.
- I need my family. Sometimes families get along. Sometimes they fight. Sometimes they are sick of each other. Some of my church family I really get along with, others I’m not so sure about. But, God has brought us together for a reason. He is working in them to give me things I need. They wouldn’t be the same without me, and I would not be the same without them.
- I can’t get enough Jesus. Yes, I can read my Bible at home and say my prayers anytime, anywhere. But, if God presents me with an opportunity to pray, learn, and grow – I need to be there. Who am I to say, “No thanks, I’m good?” The truth is I need as much time with my Lord as possible. That’s how big the problem is in our world, and how good and gracious our God is.
That’s why I go to worship
Worship is a gift. And, boy do I need it.
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