At the fall theological conference in Pierre, Tony Campolo was the main speaker. He talked a lot about who we are as church today. It really made me think - in fact, expanded my thinking in oh, so many ways.
One of the things that came to my mind was that sometimes it is just plain hard to get up the energy to go to church. Mind you, I know I work for the church but sometimes... Is that wrong? I don't know - I do know it is human. But when I miss that gathering on Saturday night or Sunday morning, I know I have missed something important. That gathering together of the Body of Christ in worship is important to my well-being. We praise, thank, confess, sing, pray, listen, eat, share, offer, and much more when we worship together. I think it is somehow just not possible to have true and vital worship if we are by ourselves.
I know that as a liturgical church it could be said that it is kind of, well, boring, for lack of a better word (I know the kids think so). And yet, there is an underlying energy in worship - knowing that literally hundreds of thousand of people - before us, with us, and in the future - are also worshiping at the same time, in their own place, in their own language, yet using the very same words. How awesome is that!!! It gives me goose bumps! And then, think also that we are surrounded by so great a host of witnesses, as it says in Hebrews 12:1. They are around us always, as we "run the race that is set before us" - as we live out our lives as the people of God.
Sometimes I fear for the Church - for the weekly gatherings that I so love. Many times it is as if we are only going "through the motions," without any thought or effort. Then it is easy to think that it is not that important to be there. As I have heard said, "I can worship God just as well when I am out in nature." That may be, but it doesn't work for the long haul. There is that "togetherness" part that helps us to worship fully - to share in the understanding of who God is and what it is that God is doing in our lives and in the world.
Recently I came across a blog that kind of sets that up pretty well - what it means to worship together. It is written by Dale Cooper, former chaplain and instructor at Calvin College in Michigan, called "Coop's Column." I invite you to follow this link to read the blog on the church in today's society: Jesus-Yes - Church-Yes
I hope that YOU will worship with your fellow believers in your house of faith this week.