Pastor's Blog
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September 27, 2017, 12:00 AM

Going to Church: Why Bother?

When you were a kid, did you have to do chores? Maybe you’re a kid (big or small 😉) NOW – do you have chores to do? CHORES – things that someone requires done. For me, my dad was that “someone,” and my list included things like practicing the trombone, cutting the grass, weeding the garden. What was – or is – on your list of chores?

Maybe “going to church” felt like – or feels like – a chore. Believe it or not, for a while it felt like that for me. Social privileges were tied to church attendance. And yes, I thought it was long and boring. But the “requirement” – the chore – of church attendance gave God’s Spirit opportunity to change my experience from “going to church” to “attending worship.” I realized over time that what we were doing “at church” was interacting with the One God – who was, and is, and will always be. “Going to church” became a place of encountering God, who God says I am and what my purpose for living is all about. It changed from a “chore” to a choice to stay grounded in what ultimately matters.

Why do you go to church? Is it out of a sense of “duty?” Is it because someone says you have to – is it a “chore?” Is it from a place of fear – “if I don’t, something bad will happen to me?” Is it because you have found the One who was, is, and will always be when the people of God gather for worship? Is it because when you worship, you stay grounded in what ultimately matters?

I have just finished reading Deuteronomy in my daily time with the scriptures. Deuteronomy is often described as Moses’s final “sermon” to the people of God before they entered the Promised Land. Moses reviews the journey that the people have been on from Egypt, through the desert, to the border of the land God had promised to give them. He also reviews the festivals the people are to observe, and how daily worship should be conducted. As you read this part of the Bible you get the sense that the festivals and the daily worship practices were “grounding rituals” – acts and observances that kept the people in touch with Who they belonged to and the things that ultimately mattered. Their identity as God’s people flowed from consistently being part of these worship events – the seasonal and daily ones. The books of the Bible that come after Deuteronomy – those that trace their origins to the time AFTER the people had entered the Promised Land – record multiple moments when the people neglected these grounding rituals and then suffered terribly. They got distracted by things that offered them alternatives to who God said they were and what God said the purpose for their living really was. They walked away from God, from their story, and from their real purpose as God’s people – all because they neglected the worship practices that kept them grounded in ultimate reality.

The things that distract us from worship practices may be different from our faith-journey ancestors, but the outcome is exactly the same: we lose our mooring to the One who was, is and always will be, and to the things that ultimately matter. See, going to church is not about fearing something bad will happen to us if we don’t. Going to church isn’t about duty, or “doing our chores.” Going to church is about being able to stand sure and confident and courageous in the face of life’s storms and turbulent times because we are connected to the One who was, is and always will be, and to who that One says we are and what our lives are really all about. Confidence and courage like that needs consistent nourishment – and the place where we receive that nourishment is………………… “going to church.”

Hope to see you this Sunday…..and the next………and the next………and the next…………and the……. 😉

Keep Lookin’ Up!

Pastor David



Comments

09-27-2017 at 7:33 PM
Joan S.
AMEN!
09-27-2017 at 7:03 PM
Vicki Heller
What a great read! Thank you for always striking the correct note st the right time.
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