By Rev. Marty Levesque
Normally, this column is reserved for tech tips for ministry, like why live streaming worship services offer unique opportunities to reach the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. And I truly believe live streaming is foundational to being church today and living the Marks of Mission.
But today I want to offer a few points, not for the virtual world, but the incarnated one. Today I want to a few tips on why attending church matters.
1. Worshiping together reflects God’s nature
The Holy Trinity is in relationship: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The relationship of the Trinity sets a model for us. Simply put, we cannot be Christians alone, as God is never alone, but rather we must be in relationship with each other. As Jesus said when two or three are gathered in my name I will be there.
2. It reminds us that we’re not alone in our Christian journey
Many of us struggle in being faithful when alone. Attending church reminds us that others are walking the same path and we lean on each other for mutual comfort and support.
3. Engagement in worship encourages others
Attending church is not only about our internal spiritual lives, but also encourages others, both in relationships with each other (as listed above) and also is an external encouragement for newcomers to see and participate in a full church service. Being present to say good morning can help others across the threshold to a journey towards the font.
4. There’s just something special about the people of God singing God’s praises together
No matter what the worship style is, focusing on God and lifting God's name together can be a powerful experience. A worshipping community singing together leads to passionate lives lived for the glory of God.
5. Together we provoke one another to love
We do that through other means as well, but encouragement to persevere in faithfulness is one task of the incarnated body. Walking arm-in-arm as we serve God and knee-to-knee as we pray together compel us to faithfulness. We grow together.
6. It is incarnational
As Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose amongst humanity, our faith is incarnational. In other words, especially as we think about the sacraments, matter matters. Jesus came to be with us, showing the importance of being together physically.
7. The body needs to be whole
St. Paul describes the church as the body of Christ. In the body an ear cannot say to an eye I have no need of you. We need each other, for mutual comfort and support because we are all part of Christ.
Many of us may still be hesitant about returning to church as the pandemic continues around us. And each person needs to make the best health decisions for themselves. Part of that decision matrix though ought to be how best to practice our faith. And when we are ready, to be together incarnationally for the glory of the one who gave his life for the world.
Rev. Marty Levesque is the diocesan social media officer and rector of All Saints’ in Waterloo. firstname.lastname@example.org