Saturday, October 11, 2014

Go Anyway

[Jesus said], "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem; the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!  How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!  See!  Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of The Lord!'" (Matthew 23:37-39).

There is a saying that going to church will no more make you a Christian than standing in a garage will make you a car.  Go anyway.  Go because there is much more at stake than merely fulfilling a religious or even social obligation.  Go because there is Someone much greater calling us into fellowship with others so we may become greater than self.  Go because as much as one may (or may not) get out of the worship service itself, it is not about "you".  Go because as much as you have convinced yourself The Lord understands what you and what you believe to be such a unique situation, the Redeemer laments when any refuse to gather into His Body.  Go because you also do not like being "stood up" or shunned or rejected.

Some don't like the preacher or priest or rabbi.  Some don't like the music.  Some don't like the liturgy, the order of worship.  Some don't like "so-and-so" who is a gossip, a cheat, a hypocrite, a jerk.  Go anyway because there is another saying: "There is always room for one more "gossip" or "cheat" or "hypocrite" or "jerk".  Go because the church is where sinners should gather - not because they need their sinfulness affirmed but because we all need to be reminded from time to time that the worst among us still needs to know that we are not accepted or left "just as I am".  Rather we are called to become just as He is, much greater than self.  And this takes time and effort and support and prayer because it is the single, most difficult thing we will ever undertake. 

Go because that "gossip" needs to be affirmed in his sacred worth.  Go because that "cheat" has not yet learned to be content.  Go because that "hypocrite" has yet to find stability.  Go because that "jerk" needs to be held accountable for her actions.  Go because all these and many more apply to each of us in some measure - without exception. 

Go because it is where we are spiritually fed and nurtured especially when we hear something that does not quite fit into our own mold of self-righteousness.  Go because there is someone in that fellowship who loves you enough to walk with you in your pain and sorrow and brokenness.  Go because someone in that fellowship needs the special gifts you have been uniquely endowed with. 

There are a thousand reasons (excuses, actually) for not attending worship; and when each layer of each lie is peeled away, at the core we will find there is only one reason to attend worship.  We are not being entertained nor are we called to entertain.  We are not worshipping ourselves or our pot lucks or our facilities.  We worship and praise the One who calls us to gather because it is not about "you", and it is not about the one sitting next to you.  It is about only One.  It is about THE One.  And as much as it is not about "making" us become Christians, it is entirely about showing us the fullness of the Life we are invited into - and rejoicing that this Invitation is still being extended.

Go anyway because when the "house is finally left desolate", the fellowship of the Body of Christ Himself will be all that is left standing.

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