Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Why I go to church on Sunday

It’s not because the Fourth Commandment demands it. The Fourth Commandment says nothing at all about worship.

It’s not because the ceremonies of the church are a means of imparting the grace of God. I was a member of a liturgical church in my youth, and took part in the Eucharist every Sunday, as much as possible in a rural area where one priest served four congregations. (I was an altar boy for several of those years and often took part in the Eucharist twice on Sunday.)  I have some good memories of the Scriptures read, recited and expouinded, but really, the services left me empty. This is not the way in which God ministers grace to the penitent.

It’s not because of family tradition. My parents attended no church at all for the first ten years of my life. Church attendance did then become a family tradition, but I abandoned it, along with most other family traditions, when I grew up and left home.

It’s not for fear of getting in trouble with the church authorities. I expect some of the lay members would call and wonder where I had been, and a prolonged absence would raise questions, but there would be no harsh laying down of the law.

It’s not for entertainment. If I wished for the best in contemporary music and the most thrilling speakers, I would not be looking to find them in church.

It’s not for making social or gusiness contacts. Sure, that sort of thing does happen in church, but it is not the best, or ideal, setting for such things.

I go to church because I need spiritual nourishment. I may not always feel that need. I don’t always feel very hungry when meal time comes around at home either, but I know that if I skip this meel, I will be feeling very hungry before it’s time for the next meal. It is the same way with spiritual nourishment.

I go to church because my spiritual compass is always in need of realignment. Sure, I could worship God at home, or in the woods, or at the beach, or even at the hockey game. Or could I? In such settings I am very prone to thinking that my priorities are God’s priorities. There is something about gathering to worship God with fellow believers of like precious faith that reawakens and redefines my awareness of  God’s priorities.

That is why I go to church. It is not the magnificence of the building or of the music , the oratorical skills of the preacher or the reverent cadences of a liturgy that draws me. It is the certain knowledge that here, among other believers as weak and fallible as I am, is where God comes near and reminds us that this is after all about Him, not about me.

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