Worship +2: What's Your Why?
Answering why questions are vital to a purposeful life. So as part of the Worship Plus 2 series, both Pastor Rick in Voorhees and Pastor Jeff in Mt. Laurel posed the question, “Why do you come to church?"
What is my why? I attend church because it makes me think, feel and have hope that there is a purpose to everything. The experience makes me grow; encourages me to identify my talents and share them with others. This statement shows my evolution from a person who just saw church as following the rules in order to stave off eternal damnation to a person who understands the gift of grace and God's unconditional love.
Obviously, many people weren’t there to hear today's question. They don't attend, believing that organized church seems too ritualistic or authoritarian. I assume those are the same people who view church law as a series of NO statements. In an age of the self-centered, bring-everything-to-me-on-demand mentality, church attendance seems inconvenient at best.
Pastor Jeff said that in the developmental stage of Hope Church, the initial twelve debated the essentials of worship. It was decided that prayer, music and teaching from the Word were essential rituals. Another essential was for the community to gather together regularly in order to develop friendships. Hence today's "Hot Dog Sunday" concept.
Pastor Jeff suggested that misplaced rituals need to be challenged, yet some rituals are important. Memorial Day is a ritual that connects us with our National Heritage and respect for those who sacrificed to keep us free. Weekly worship reinforces the knowledge of who we are as Christians and whose we are. Both pastors warned about the isolation of the "on demand" culture. We gather together to celebrate the wonders of God's creation, learn how to grow spiritually and recognize that part of the great command is to serve others. We gather together to support one another. We gather to tell others, "You are never alone." There is strength in numbers.
If you go to any holiday celebration just for the food, you miss the point. The food is designed to be the bridge to fellowship. If you hold a celebration just because of your obligation to serve, you miss the point. You should be using your hospitality talents to get closer to others. If you attend a Memorial Day service only to weep and grieve, you miss the point. The person who sacrificed for you, did so for your continued safety and happiness. He or she wants you to live, love and be happy.
Pastor Rick said that Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42) missed the point. In Jesus' presence, one only wanted to serve and not interact while the other only wanted to honor and not serve. Jesus commanded us to do both. Worship God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love others by treating your neighbor as yourself.
Pastor Jeff spoke of his "Best Holiday" when the traditions of turkey and the fixings had to be changed due to circumstances, but the "must have" remained the gathering of family. There is strength and a witness when we gather together that is missing when we are on our own. We gather to support and love each other, whether as a family or a community of believers.
Whether you were a cooker or eater today, the hot dogs mattered the least. Did you engage with a fellow Christian? Did you share some thoughts and listen attentively? Pastor Rick said the Bible is full of stories where the spiritual and physical worlds intersect, starting with the formation of human beings from dirt and the Son of God taking on human form for our salvation. Adding celebration and food to fellowship is a practice that dates to the early Christian church.
On this Memorial Day weekend, remember who sacrificed for you, starting with Jesus. Honor that sacrifice with remembrance, celebration, growth and contributions. Make sure that sacrifice wasn't in vain.
What’s your Why? It's not important that everyone knows, but YOU must know.
Celebrate, Connect and Contribute
It matters to you, others and God.
Acts 2: 42-47
Luke 10: 38-42