Here we are and summer is here. Graduations, vacations, yard work, picnics and family gatherings. After a long hibernation with the strange winter we had, we can finally spread our wings and enjoy the great outdoors. For me and my family, the beach is the destination for us.
There is something therapeutic about the sand and the ocean. So now that I got your attention talking about the great things that summer brings, let me talk about something that has always made me think.
I love the summer months just as much as the next person but why the summer break from church? Let me give you a couple of reasons why it is important to continue to partake in the weekly worship experience.
- We are built for work and worship. If we can’t connect with God through carpools, work, parenting, and making dinner, then we aren’t experiencing the abundant life God promises (John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.) Weekly worship participation orients our taste buds to desire God, to turn to him in the midst of traffic, and say a prayer when you’re tempted to lose it.
We may not experience life-altering moments each Sunday, but they accumulate to form a texture and commitment that grounds our faith. We need weekly worship.
- We not only need the week-in and week-out experience of the body of Christ, we also need to worship. Every other hour in the week our attention is pulled towards fulfilling the needs of our families, friends, or ourselves. We need weekly worship to pull our attention upward, to help us desire the things God desires.
David writes in Psalm 27: “Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I shall be confident. One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and meditate in His temple.” Worship reorients our circumstances — even if war-hungry enemies do not surround us — so that we have peace that passes understanding.
- Personal Bible study time, prayer, service, and meditation are important tools to connect with God. But they cannot stand in for time in corporate worship. Because “wherever two or three are gathered,” Jesus promises to be with us (Matthew 18:20). Also, in worship, we experience God’s presence as we worship together. We hear babies cry. We see the faithfulness of the elderly. We rethink what justice, mercy, love and grace look like as we hear stories from people of God and witnesses to those stepping into the church for the very first time.
The church is called to be a body with many members (1 Corinthians 12). We each have a different part to play and part of the beauty is that we not only serve our world better together when we’re each doing our part, we also experience God more richly as we gather together.
This summer, it’s good to go on vacation, but no vacation will bring lasting satisfaction, meaning, purpose, or even true rest. That is only found as we worship God together with his people, week-in and week-out.
Love you all!