“5 reasons to attend church.” The headline in The Examiner caught my eye: After all, the recent PEW study demonstrated that Catholics and Christians are dropping out of the church-attending group, as society grows increasingly secular. “People can pray anywhere,” they reason; and of course that’s true, but aren’t there real reasons for showing up in the pew on Sunday morning, for staying connected with a church community?
Jessica McFarlane, reporter for the Philadelphia Catholic Examiner, offered five very good reasons, indeed. I just think she may have missed the Really Big Reason. Let me explain.
McFarlane cites five reasons for attending Mass or another weekly church service:
- Fellowship with people who share your beliefs gives you a “special feeling.”
- Church is for the imperfect–so bring your struggles and problems to church and let God help you.
- Social status. Who cares what others think; there’s only one “you.”
- Try, try again. A bad experience in the past shouldn’t keep you away.
- Keeps us grounded. Going to church reminds us to do good and love one another.
This is all good as far as it goes. I’m just left smacking my head, thinking that there’s another, really obvious reason that she forgot to include.
And what is the #1 reason to attend church?
God is God, and we are not.
God is God, so He gets to make the rules; and He tells us right off, in the Ten Commandments on the slab that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai, that we are to Keep Holy the Lord’s Day.
God is God, the Creator of the Universe, the one before Whom every knee must bend, every head must bow. He holds us in the palm of His hand, and were He to stop thinking about us, we would not exist.
McFarlane’s five reasons focus on why going to church is good for us–on the “me” aspect of worship. More important, I think, is the “Thou” aspect. We worship because the Almighty God, the One Who has given us life and Who holds the earth and all that is in it, has instructed us to worship Him.
God is God–and we fall before Him in awe. We pray, because we can’t not do so.
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