When did church attendance become unimportant?
Having just experienced The Festival of Choirs, with everyone heading toward the exit, I overheard this comment: “That almost made me want to go back to church!”
Obviously, the choirs had performed exceptionally well, singing traditional Christmas hymns that speak of Christ being the center of Christmas. The final song was sung together, all choirs taking the stage to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. The song was explosive with all voices, as one, lifting praise to God with the lyric, King Of King and Lord of Lords.
Pondering the opening comment about going back to church, questions come to mind, “what causes someone to stop attending church? When did church attendance become unimportant? For those who choose not to attend church, is that ok?” Of course, we will not know that answer until our final breath.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in a way that you may win.” This instruction was given to the church. However, this statement makes sense even to non-believers, as all understand what it takes to succeed in life. Goodness knows how life can provide unwanted difficulty. “Run in such a way that you might win” were words of encouragement, words that explicitly implied, “stay connected to the church, as the only true source that can provide ‘tools’ necessary to compete well in the race of life.
The beauty of staying connected to the church is the instruction, encouragement, grace and forgiveness provided by the church, through Jesus Christ. Conversely, it only makes sense that if we don’t stay “connected”, our journey/race, becomes much more difficult.
We go to church with an attitude of thanksgiving, knowing Jesus paid a price He did not owe and we could not pay. Going to church with an attitude of thanksgiving & a heart that is contrite offers peace of mind. We go to church willing to offer ourselves back to God, thankful for the gift of life, thankful that a way has been made for salvation.
If you are someone that has stopped attending church, God is not concerned where you have been, He cares more about where we are going. Attending church this Sunday will surprise you, as having our priorities in correct order can cause angst to lesson and if the habit of church attendance continues, anxiousness can leave entirely.
If you have not been a regular church attender, a good way to discern whether you and your family may benefit is to consider this charge given approximately 1300BC: “Remember to keep holy The Sabbath.” Some quotes are timeless. If that was good advice so long ago, and if it was actually God who gave the advice, might it still be beneficial today?
Consider making you priest or pastor smily this Sunday. Better yet, consider bringing a smile to the face of God! The timelessness of the Christian message never changes, “Come Lord Jesus, save us from our sins.”