Why go to church?

ASBO Jesus does it again.

Why do you go to church? What do you say when asked? Frankly, our collective failure to be able to answer this question in a compelling way is the reason why the Episcopal Church as an institution is circling the drain. What would be a good answer?

Here’s my personal favorite: “My salvation depends upon it.” Yes, Jesus Christ is the source of our salvation in that he is our Redeemer and our Savior. I’m speaking of the broader view of salvation (sozo) that also encompasses health, wholeness, and redemption. In other words, when St. Paul talked about working out our own salvation, does the Church have anything to do with that?

My healing and wholeness depends on being part of the Body of Christ made real each Sunday. I need to sing God’s praises, to give thanks for all the blessings of this life, to seek forgiveness, to hear God’s Word, and to taste the Incarnate One in bread and wine. That’s my answer, today anyway.

What is yours, dear reader? What would you tell the kids about why they should go to church?

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11 Responses

  1. Ann says:

    Because I said so?

  2. I’d say I go to church because, although I can worship God anywhere, I am blessed when I can worship God with others. I am inspired, frustrated, challenged, touched, and generally opened up to the world beyond me and my own skin when I gather with the community of believers. It makes me more complete when I worship with other people.

  3. DcnScott says:

    We Christians speak of “the bread of life,” of being “hungry for God” or being “spiritually fed” – telling metaphors, all – but the results of ingestion, the digestive process, is a trove of metaphor as well. That is, one needs to go to church for much the same reason that one needs to go to the, um, water closet.

    As we live our lives, we constantly take in experiences and activities, and what the world gives – “what’s on my plate,” as the saying goes – and “digest” it. Not surprisingly, then, after a time, we are likely feel the need to empty ourselves of all these internalized emotions and experiences.

    I notice that there is some scriptural support for this image, however tenuous. There are numerous references to emotion or sentiment, affairs of “the heart,” which are found in the KJV as “the bowels.” See, for example, Gen 43:30, 1 Kings 3:26; Psalm 22:14, 2 Cor 6:12, and three uses in Philemon. (And Songs 5:4 is particularly unfortunate.)

    That is why I am a regular churchgoer. So to speak.

  4. Peter Carey says:

    Free Bread and Wine (and Coffee!)…?

    And, it’s where I sense that things are most real…even the messy things of the world – illumined and transformed by God through JC…

    (And they pay me)

  5. Casey Shobe says:

    Wow. Good question. I need to ask that of my people. I go to church because it is where I encounter the risen Christ most powerfully.

  6. Michael DeAngelo says:

    My wife makes me!

  7. Louis Henderson says:

    “. . . we assemble and meet together to render thanks for the great benefits that we have received at [God’s] hands, to set forth his most worthy praise, to hear his most holy Word, and to ask those things which are requisite and necessary, as well for the body as the soul.”

    Yup – the BCP seems to cover it!

  8. Matt Gunter says:

    What you said.

    Seriously, if I did not think my salvation, in the broad sense, depende upon it, I’m not sure I’d continue to bother (and be bothered).

  9. Melody says:

    I go to church because when I encounter the Body of Christ made present in the Bread and Wine and the Body of Christ gathered around me I am both challenged and empowered to be the person God created me to be.

  10. Sarah says:

    Christians need the fellowship of other Christians.

  11. DAB says:

    I go because I’m part of the Body of Christ — and that’s where I can gather with the rest of Christ’s Body. I go because it lifts my eyes up from the inevitable draining circle of my OWN obsessions and concerns and helps me look at my life and the world around me through God’s eyes, words, music, body and blood. And I go because, on the rare occasions I have had to miss more than two weeks in a row, I find my days and weeks dragging, my spirit sinking, and my eyes cast downward. I’m not sure whether God needs me to go to church — and we’ve had some fine Sundays, just the two of us, when I haven’t gone — but I know *I* need to go to church!

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