I freaking love church. I love it.
With the exception of a few pockets of time, I have loved going to church my whole life. In college church was hard because it made me more homesick. While I lived in Missouri church was hard because I was on church staff, and church started to feel like work instead of worship- but even then I would occasionally drive to Jacob’s Well in Kansas City (after attending two services at my own church) just to have a worship experience in a building where I wasn’t on staff.
As I sat in church this morning, I was thinking of how much I love it and wondering why? Why do I love giving up my Sunday mornings and what little free time I have so much?
Obviously, I love the people at church. My church brothers and sisters often form the closest part of my community wherever I am. However, this morning was only Nick and my third time at this new church, and we don’t know many people yet. So, it must be more than the people- though of course that’s part of it.
I came to realize that I love church, because I need church.
It doesn’t matter that I don’t get TV channels at home, that I try to avoid mindless gossip, or that I strive to live a life of service- I am, always have been, and always will be pulled into the shallowness and pretense of this world. I need church to remind me of what is real.
I need church to remind me that it doesn’t matter if I don’t have the house or car or wardrobe that someone else does. I need church to remind me that I don’t have to be perfect at work. I need church to remind me that the stories I hear in my office are not stories I have to carry alone. I need church to remind me that my life is not about my own happiness.
I am a do-er. I love getting things done and accomplishing tasks. Church reminds me that my salvation is not in what I get done. It is in who I love.
I love the One who died for me.
Church reminds me of this- no matter what good or bad or crazy or busy thing is going on in my life- Jesus died for me. This is what my life is about- loving Him, because He loves me. I can certainly love Jesus all week, but, for me, it is much easier when I get centered every Sunday morning.
Sitting in the pew, standing to sing hymns, praying with the church body, taking communion- I am recharging for another week of fighting the selfishness, and pettiness, and chaos, and evil, and sorrow that is not only in the world, but is also in me.
For that, I love church. I love church.What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:31-39