Years ago a Sunday morning would find most folks in church. At least, that was true in the farming community from which I came.
As more and more folks found that they had jobs that required them to work on Sunday, things began to change. Then stores began to stay open for shoppers on Sunday and many weekends, the malls were filled with shoppers instead of churches filled with worshippers.
Now, I am not about to sit in judgment of those who don’t attend worship services.
I just want to raise a few questions for all of us to ponder. I know that there are those who will say they can worship just as well at home. Or, they can worship while fishing, hunting, playing golf or whatever.
Perhaps they can but maybe they are just fooling themselves. They are the only ones who can truthfully answer that.
But I’d like to come at this whole idea of worshipping together from another perspective.
Maybe it is because I do attend regularly that when I do miss, I feel like there is a big ‘hole’ in my life.
Is it because the music at church is beautiful or the pastor always delivers an uplifting and challenging message?
I don’t think that is the whole truth. Recently while reading one of my devotionals, I found the writer speaking about how we sometimes use a ‘Band-Aid” to patch up a simple cut. But we need more if we are injured more seriously. We also could wait until we are very ill before seeing a doctor but we could have yearly checkups and catch a problem before it is quite as serious.
I found myself thinking about this concept concerning Bible study and worship services.
Perhaps some will find that they can ‘patch’ the minor problems in their lives and think of church as a place to come when ‘disaster’ strikes in their lives. When illness comes, when death claims a loved one, when they have other problems and disappointments in their lives, then they find they need the God they have often forgotten.
Now please understand, I don’t know the circumstances in any one else’s life. And as such, I am not judging behavior. I am asking a question that I myself have pondered for years.
Do I want God as a part of my everyday life or do I ‘need’ Him when life gets dangerous and frightening?
We always speak of ‘want’ and ‘need’ in terms of material things in our lives, but I wonder if we ever equate our faith in the same way.
I am just going to share my own experience for what it is worth. When I sometimes miss attending a worship service either because of illness, travel, or even terrible snowstorms, I feel as though something is missing from my life the following week.
I really can’t pinpoint if it is the message from the pulpit, the hymns we sing, the reading of God’s holy word or the prayers and concerns raised.
Perhaps, since I am now widowed, it is just the joy of being surrounded by people you know and care about.
One thing I do know is that when I return home I feel renewed, sometimes challenged, but most certainly ready to face another week whatever it may bring.
Attending a worship service may make me aware of my shortcomings, it may offer a challenge to do something or change something, it may offer comfort, it may enrich my knowledge of scripture, but if I don’t get something, it is usually because of being distracted…not because there is nothing to be gained.
The ‘thing’ I take home some mornings may just be a happy feeling from a hug or greeting from another individual who I know has felt the same pain and knows how I may be feeling.
Truly in my mind, a congregation is a ‘family of believers’ and as such it is a joy to come together with that family and grow in friendship but more important grow in faith.
And, that my friends, is not a ‘Band Aid’ approach to life. It is a healing that will carry you through another week.