In a letter to the editor of a British newspaper, a man complained that he saw no sense in going to church every Sunday. “I have been attending services quite regularly for the past 30 years,” he wrote, “and during that time, I have listened to no less than 3,000 sermons. But, to my consternation, I discover I cannot remember a single one of them. I wonder if a minister’s time might be more profitably spent on something else.”
That letter sparked many responses. One, however, was the clincher: “I have been married for 30 years. During that time I have eaten 32,850 meals, mostly of my wife’s cooking. Suddenly, I have discovered that I cannot remember the menu of a single meal. And yet, I received nourishment from every one of them. I have the distinct impression that without them I would have starved to death long ago.”
The Bible assumes the importance of going to church, and the only admonition to do so appears in the context of the danger of forsaking the practice (Hebrews 10:25). We need help to keep our faith and hope from wavering (v.23), and to love and do good works (v.24). Just as physical food keeps us alive and strong, so also the spiritual nourishment of teaching and fellowship are necessary for our survival.
I love to worship with others, to read the Bible and pray.
To sing the songs about Jesus, and learn to walk in His way. (Hess)
To keep growing in Christ, keep going to church.*
It strikes me that, most every year, church attendance spikes at two particular times: around Christmas and Easter. Now don’t get me wrong. As a Pastor, I am thankful for every single person who comes to church on any given Sunday. By the same token, surely Jesus matters to us more than just twice a year!
Surely there is more to celebrate in our Savior than just the commemoration of His birth and of His crucifixion and resurrection. If not, why do the Gospels spend so much more time on His earthly life than either the beginning or ending of that earthly life? (In point of fact, only Matthew and Luke dwell at any length on the circumstances of His birth.)
And just as there is more to the Gospel story of Jesus than just the two miracles of His birth and His resurrection, so is there more to the Christian life than just attending worship twice in a year. For my part, I plan to include the worship of Jesus Christ in my Christmas plans. And I commend all others who plan to do the same. At the same time, I do not plan to abandon Him or His church after the holiday season has passed.
My faith has more meaning than that. It is not a commodity to be shelved until protocol requires its retrieval. Likewise, my commitment to Christ is not intermittent; nor is my walk with Him seasonal. Rather, it is daily, as it must be. For the Christ Child of Christmas and the Risen Lord of Easter also said (in Luke 9:23): “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
In light of this, may we each be faithful in the coming year to pursue a daily walk with the Master, and to be committed to regular and consistent attendance in the House of God as a result. After all, if we were to go for weeks on end without a meal, we would pay the physical price in our health. By the same token, skipping church for weeks and months at a time is certainly not good for one's spiritual health.