Greetings from the worship service — at Starbucks. I have a confession to make. I don’t go to church. In fact, I haven’t been in years. Maybe you are like me. You prefer mornings of quiet, or reading the newpaper. Or perhaps you enjoy jogging.
I went to church up until we moved to Finland in 2006. I hit a rough patch then in my life, including spiritually. Church may have helped, but I didn’t believe any of the local ones would. None of the local churches appealed to me. Almost all the services were conducted in Finnish, which I am still poor at. In addition, the one organized English service in town didn’t do much for me either. So I just quit going.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a Christian, and I held on to the Lord with all my might despite not going to church.A friend from abroad helped keep me going. I even did personal Bible study and went through my daily prayer list regularly . But in the inner reaches of my spirit I knew I was rejecting church for more reasons than just language and theology. Frankly, I just didn’t care for God’s people all that much. There were lots of reasons for that which I won’t go into, but it was what it was.
Now I find myself back in the United States. Language is no longer an issue. There are plenty of theologically sound churches around. I should go, and eventually I will. The “God’s people” issue is still gnawing at me, though, so I am a little reticent.
But I have found one big reason why I should go to church: communion. Jesus told Christians to do it (I Corinthians 11:23-26). Minimally, we should take communion because we remember Jesus work on the Cross for us. But there are other reasons. One pastor, Dr. Robert F. Browning, says communion “provides a vital service. It invites participants to quit ignoring faults and confront weaknesses, to confront the hurt and pain unwise decisions inflict upon others and them, to see the folly of stumbling in darkness rather than walking in the light.” He also says it helps us quit our posing and become vulnerable before God, doing so by confessing our sins.
Not only does communion help us reflect on our fault, according to the The Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod it offers the benefits of Christ’s consolation, encouragement and cheer from Him.
The benefits of communion motivate me to return to church. The Christmas season is a great time to do so, and I am looking forward to finding a place to go in my new community with my family.
Perhaps you are like me. You’ve had some run-ins with people who claim to be Christians and you run for the hills when they show up. So going to church is the farthest thing from your mind.
But it’s a cliche that those who have no faith go to church at Christmas. So what have you got to lose. Why not give it a try during this holiday season. Don’t go to please Mom or your significant other. Go to meet with God.