I have a reoccurring dream theme: I’m lost or I’ve lost something. Time is passing and I’m searching and becoming more and more anxious. Like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, I’m going to be late and/or unprepared. It’s not a good dream.
For some reason those dreams made me think about the church and all the things I would lose if I weren’t part of it. Of course one thing I wouldn’t lose is my salvation, because like all good Lutherans I know that God chose me and gave me faith, I don’t earn it by going to church or by the things I do there. But my Christian life would be only a shadow of what it could and should be without the church.
At church, I learn more about Christ and the life of faith. I learn through Sunday School, Bible study and sermons. The Bible becomes a living part of me, not a reference book I have to refer to. I learn through the example of others. There are so many people at church I admire for different things. People at church have taught me about generosity, self sacrifice, leadership, compassion, joy and any other Christian virtue you can think of. Better yet, the folks at church encourage and support me when I use my gifts for the good of the congregation. In fact, church was the place I found out that I had gifts to share!
Church is the place I go to worship God (a good reminder in case I drifted away during the week) and where I receive the sacrament of communion, which strengthens me for the days and trials ahead. I get to sing! Don’t you think singing always makes you feel better? You don’t even have to sing well, just lose yourself in making a joyful noise to the Lord. I see friends who celebrate and mourn with me and who pray for me whenever I ask.
So, I am puzzled. Who would want to lose all that in order to find a few more hours to sleep in, or go to the mall or watch sports on TV? What do you find when you take time for church? What do you lose when you don’t?
“Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”Hebrews 10:25