Why Should We Go To Church?
I’ve been through many stages when it comes to my feelings on the church. Growing up in a religious family, we attended church every Sunday. It got to the point where I knew when to stand, when to sit and when to kneel without watching my parents every move. As a young child, I went to church not because I liked it or didn’t like it, but just because it was what we did.
I remember a weekend when I was allowed to sleep over at my friend’s house. Her parents attended church once in a while but mainly during the important religious times of Christmas and Easter. That particular Sunday morning we slept in and I felt a mixture of feelings. I felt guilty to miss church intertwined with giddiness to have a day off. Imagine a whole Sunday morning to stay in our pajamas and play! It was unheard of in my household. The guilt got the better of me and so I convinced my friend to play “church” with me. We held a mini-service in her living room with prayers, Bible readings, and we even used our breakfast toast as a Eucharist.
As a teenager, I was not so interested in the church. Getting out of bed before noon on a weekend was especially hard. I remember waiting until the very last minute before rolling out of bed, dragging a comb through my hair, and rushing out the door to jump in the waiting car. I could still go through the motions of standing, sitting and kneeling without thinking – the habit was ingrained. I thought I was fooling my parents by pretending to pray when really I was catching up on much-needed sleep.
In my early twenties, while away from home at university, I had a new freedom to choose to go to church or not. I felt somewhat self-righteous when I did make it to a Sunday mass. I stood up proud thinking, “Look at me, I’m a student coming to church even without my parents.” But the life of a student took over and I didn’t feel the necessity to attend after the first year.
Even in my early thirties, when I gave my heart to Jesus and committed to a personal relationship with God, I didn’t see where the church fit in. I reasoned that church was only about rituals and two-faced people who said one thing and did another.
But a wise person told me that the people in church were there because they were human, not perfect. She helped me to see the need for church – it wasn’t about guilt and rituals but rather about joining with other people in fellowship to learn about God and worship Him.
The church began with only a few believers to share the truth of the Good News. The believers were dependent on one another to share resources, learn about God and enjoy fellowship together.
Church is not a building. It is not rituals. Church is people joining together as a family of God to teach and learn God’s truth as revealed in the scriptures. Meeting together as believers offers support and encouragement. They were like family to each other; the family of God. This is what we are called to today.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another (Hebrews 10:23-25 NIV).