Why do you go to church? This was a question I heard a lot back before I became a pastor. Honestly, in the restaurants where I worked, I was the only person who practiced any kind of spirituality, let alone something so run-of-the-mill as Christianity. We can name it; worship attendance the last 50 years has fallen out of vogue. We notice, and yet, we have a hard time talking honestly about it. There are a variety of reasons why congregations feel smaller on Sundays. We all have our own theories, and personal favorites. It’s a constellation of reasons and addressing one particular star in the constellation doesn’t change the picture much. So instead of analyzing why some people choose not to come to worship services, we need to ask ourselves, why do we still come? I figured I would share my reasons. Why I would come to worship, even if I wasn’t your pastor.
- Worship isn’t about me, it’s about God. I need a space in the week that isn’t about my own neurosis, fears, and worries. Worship is about worshipping and connecting with the God who has created, redeemed and loves the whole world, even me.
- Worship is where I receive Holy Communion and hear my sin is forgiven. I don’t know any other spiritual experience outside of weekly worship where I can consistently receive Christ’s holy meal and hear that I am a forgiven person.
- Sunday morning is where I learn to love people I wouldn’t normally love, let alone meet. It is within the congregation I have met people with lives, experiences and points of view completely different than my own, and learned to love them. It’s easy to surround ourselves in a bubble of people who are exactly like us. Worshiping with a congregation pops that bubble.
- Worship is where I practice my “real life”. It is at worship where I hear God’s love for me, respond in joyful song (even if I am a bad singer), give stuff away without worry, eat at the holy table for everyone, share peace with all kinds of people, receive forgiveness and then to top it all off, am sent out to join God’s mission of loving and healing the world. I imagine that is how I am supposed to live all the time, and at worship I get to “practice”. Eventually, I do believe I will be changed because of it.
So church, that is why I go to worship. The church is the assembly of God’s people. We don’t go to church; we are the church. And because of that, we happen to come together often. You know why I keep showing up, why do you?