I love God.
It is important that you know this from the very beginning. He is amazing and is the central part of my life. He has rescued me from so many things that I cannot even spend time telling you. Though I have had a great relationship with God, I have found myself lately with an emptiness. I have a great relationship with my wife and my children. I have a pretty good job. Yet, when it comes to a relationship with other people, there’s a hole.
I used to think that going to a church was a place where relationships could be formed and perhaps even have friendships that would last a lifetime. Perhaps, I am expecting too much from those in the flock. I have come to the point of asking myself this question; “What is the point of going to church?” I asked this question recently from my readers and here are the answers that I received;
“When we choose not to meet together, we deprive ourselves, we deprive the church, and, of course, we disobey a biblical command to meet together with the fellow members of the Bride.”
“To discover the reason to go to church.”
“For me, it’s my time with God plus I can be in community with others. As a cradle Catholic, I find comfort in the ceremony as well as the words. I can go to Mass anywhere and it is basically the same.”
” Community. ‘No man is an island’ -John Donne”
“Because it changes us. Every time we are in the Lord’s presence I believe we change. When I hear and receive the Word and let the Holy Spirit show me what it means just for me and I can hear how to apply it to my everyday life…I change for the better every time. I also get to hang with some people and develop great relationships!”
“Family. That is what I miss from not being a member of a church. Divorce hurts.”
These are all great answers. They have good intentions behind them. However, it doesn’t answer the question fully. What I mean is this; is there a real purpose in going to church? I have had many people quote Hebrews 10:25 to me as an answer;
“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
It is credible – it’s the Bible! Here’s the thing; we have to read the whole context of it. To get that context, I have included versus 19-25;
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” v. 19-22
Because of Christ’s death on the cross, we can go into the Most Holy Place with boldness. He can go right into the presence of God without any barrier! This is so good.
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” v. 23
We can hold tight in knowing that God will keep His promises! These are all great things. Now – here’s where I struggle;
“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” v. 24-25
From this, I gather that the reason we go to church is that we encourage one another, love one another, and help one another. Our goal as believers is to be there as a community to build one another up, to love one another, and to help one another in times of need.
What can we do to enrich the lives of others when we go to church?