by Paula Harrington
This is why I’m not going to church this week.
- My parents and grandparents went.
- I think it will make my life easier.
- My spouse goes so I’ll hear about it if I don’t.
- I think it will help my kids.
- I’m obligated to teach a class.
- I’d feel guilty if I didn’t.
- It will look good on a job application or country club membership application.
- I’m afraid I’ll go to Hell if I don’t.
None of those are why I’m going. I’ll be there because I want to worship a God who loves me in a way I’ll never be able to understand or explain. I’m going because I love his people.
You see, not too many years ago, there was a man who died for that church. He left his place of honor, lived in this wicked world, and allowed himself to be killed. I’d be a fool to alienate myself from his followers and then try to claim him as my personal Savior.
What would Jesus say if I chose to walk away? Would he understand when I explained that I loved him, but his people were much too frustrating? Or, would he remind me that they frustrated him, too?
We may not always think the way we should (Matthew 16:22). We sometimes fail to see the big picture (Luke 10:40-42). From time to time, we take our eyes off Christ (Matthew 14:30).
We have messed up our lives (John 4:5-42). We want to be faithful but too often we’re found lacking (Mark 9:24). We bicker with each other (Mark 10:35-45). It’s not always easy to walk away from our earthly treasures (Matthew 19:22).
At times, we stick too tightly to tradition (Mark 7:6-13). We’re adamant followers until life gets too difficult (John 6:66). And yet each time we fail to be who he wants us to be, Christ whispers, “I know you and I died for you anyway” (Acts 20:28, Ephesians 5:25).
I’m not going to church because it’s a family tradition. I’m not going to save face in my community.
I know it won’t solve all of my problems. I’m not going out of a sense of guilt or obligation. I know it won’t keep my kids out of trouble or save them from heartache. I’m not going because I worship a God who takes attendance. I’m not going so I can check Hebrews 10:25 off of my to-do list to get into Heaven either.
- I’ll be at church on Sunday because I need the Christ and I need his people regardless of our backgrounds, disagreements, or shortcomings.
- I’ll be at church because I need to be reminded that I am not alone in this cold, cruel world.
- I’ll be at church because I need a Sunday morning faith in a Monday morning world and that kind of faith can only be found among God’s people.
- I’ll be at church because I’m weak and broken.
- I’ll be at church because I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
- I’ll be at church and I hope to see you there.