Sunday, December 24, 2006

Why do we go to church?

Today's Old Testament reading is from the book of Zechariah, who prophesied during the period of the Babylonian exile. In response to a question about mourning and fasting, the Lord speaks through Zechariah:
“Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?
Zechariah 7.5-6
Brought forward to today, this could read, “When you went to church every Sunday for the past 70 years, was it really me you worshiped?”

Indeed, who is it we worship when we join with other believers? Are we worshiping the Lord? Or are we doing something because it's a (good) habit? To do good in the world? Are we coming to see our friends? Are we looking for an experience (a "feel-good" one or otherwise)?

These alternatives aren't wrong, but unless at least some of what we do in church on Sundays is worship the Lord, submit ourselves to him, reaffirm our commitment to do his will... then I think we're headed for trouble. It seems to me that good intentions and good works will run out of gas unless the spirit of God is driving them forward.

So whatever else I do at church - welcoming people, listening to them, encouraging or praying for them - I hope that I find communion with the Lord himself.

Otherwise I'm just going to a meeting of people; I'm not meeting God.

Because he's always ready to meet you or me; may we be ready to meet him as well.

posted 12/26

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