I start today with a question I have been challenged with for a long time. A question I continue to search for the answer. Everytime I think I find something, something else happens that will change my answer.
Why do you go to church?
Has it just become a weekly tradition that was engrained in you by your parents. Are you trying to set a good example for your children? It's just what you do. I can atleast give part of my day to this stuff, right?
Now, for the most part, I do not people have these outlooks on the subject. I do believe the reason for most is just, to learn about Christ, to grow closer in community through Jesus, to grow their faith, to worship the Lord for all the great and amazing things he has done.
But sometimes, my mind just isn't in it. Being so busy and constantly thinking of other things, I found that while my body was at church, my mind was not.
I want to share 2 short stories from when I was younger and I was considering this question.
The first time I was on a DYC event called Bishop's Bash youth from all over West Tennessee gathered in Eva, TN. While there someone challenged us with a question. Being that there were over 60 high schoolers all sitting in the floor in a small hot room, it was doubtful most were listening. But that question still makes me think. He brought up the Nicene Creed and asked what it said. Since we are all good Episcopalians, we know it by memory, no BCP needed! He stopped us. Yes, that is how it goes, but what does it mean? That still gets me. I wanted to know why we did everything! I didn't want to just say things. I wanted to mean it. No more going through the motions. I wanted to be intentional about my time during worship.
Another time, also in high school, I found that I was spending a lot of time at church and youth group. If I wasn't there, I was hanging out with my friends from youth group. My schedule was getting pretty busy. I was pretty involved at church. I went to every event. I was on DYC. I was a lecturer. I was also pretty busy at school. 3 AP's and a couple of honors classes. I was VP for German Club, a member of NAHS, FCA, I was on the bowling team (really), and even ran on the cross country team for a little bit. I played competitive soccer...I mean, I was a busy kid. But I had made it a priority to go to church and be as involved as possible. I was asked why am I trying so hard to be there for everything. I did not really know at the time. I just loved it. Yes, all my friends were there, but sometimes they weren't. But I just made friends with the other people that were there. We all became very good friends and one big community. Looking back it makes sense. The atmosphere! I was constantly surrounded by these pressures. Pressure for good grades, good times, good scores, playing better, trying to impress EVERYBODY! At a time when you feel that nothing you do is every good enough, it can take its toll. I found one way I could get away was to go to church and youth group.
It was a place where I was friends with everyone there. Were my best friends always there, no. But I made new friends. In all honesty, those friends are some of the same people that I am still very good friends with today. All the pressure of the outside "real" world just didn't matter there. You could have fun with no worries about having to impress anyone.
So why do you go to church? Or why do you not?
My friends weren't going that day. I didn't think anyone would be there. I was tired.
Yea, we can't be there always. But ask yourself, Why SHOULD you go to church?
What seems to be a stronger answer?