Monday, September 16, 2013

Why go to church?

What did you do yesterday morning?  When I was young, the grocery stores in the small town were closed and in fact they all had signs on their doors that read "closed Sundays - see you in church."  Back then more Americans did go to worship services, on Sundays or on whatever day was most significant to their faith tradition.  Now more and more people are asking "Why go to church?"

In an interview with Ladies Home Journal back in 1917, Theodore Roosevelt, our 26th president offered a number of reasons for going to church. One of the things he said was "Church work and church attendance mean the cultivation of the habit of feeling some responsibility for others and the sense of braced moral strength, which prevents a relaxation of one's own moral fiber." I like that. It sounds a lot like the kind of thing I write about here every day.

The Bible calls on us to be the church, and not just go to church. How can we be the church though if we are not there and are not participating?  How can we spread the Good News and feed and clothe the poor and work for justice and pray for peace and promote a better world, if we don't get off our butts and go?

I'm not going to convince someone in this small space that participating in their synagogue, church, mosque, or other place of worship is something they should do. The reasons for going are many. I suppose you could make a list for why NOT to participate also.  Just for a moment today though, think about it.  If you already have a faith community that you have been part of, think about participating more fully, and if you do not, take a look around.  See what's available to you.  Consider joining and making a difference.
Roosevelt also said "Yes, I know all the excuses. I know that one can worship the Creator and dedicate oneself to good living in a grove of trees, or by a running brook, or in one's own house, just as well as in church. But I also know as a matter of cold fact the average man does not thus worship or thus dedicate himself," the President said. "If he strays away from church, he does not spend his time in good works or lofty meditation. He looks over the colored supplement of the newspaper."

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