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Eric's Sunday Sermon; To Church or Not To Church
Yes that is a church way down there on the ridge.
Churches in general
Oh for sure this applies to all kinds of places of worship. I have been blessed to travel much of the world and I just love visiting all types of places of worship. Temples are perhaps the most interesting but the Sistine Chapel ooh la la. Tabernacles are cool and the churches set above pyramids in Mexico are awesome. Monasteries fill one with calm and Mosques somehow call one inside. Home sanctuaries are neat and one room country churches give a real sense of devotion. Kivas and Sipapus are not to be missed; the same with sweat lodges and mountain tops. So let us set aside the differences and wrap our minds around the similarities and reasons for such places.
Shall we start off with a simple concept. If you like to go to worship with others then by all means go and do it. If you do not choose to do it then fine and more power to you. I do not know of a phrase that suggests that if you do not go, something bad will happen to you. Oh there are texts that beseech you to go to church. But not any that condemn you if you do not. Probably going to a bad church is far worse than not going.
This song always reminds me of a very low time I spent in Tijuana Mexico and oh baby I was so alone.
This picture always reminds me of God's Church and a service a buddy of mine and I had right there.
Guilty as charged your honor?
Now in this day and age there are many folks who were brought up to attend church services. Actually by statistics, more went than did not go a mere 50 years ago. Now in some cases this was literally beat into the psych of many a child. And so what happens when they decide not to go? They feel guilty about not going. What a shame. I have an older daughter like that and she is just a blessing and has a deep and abiding faith. And by golly she just loves to go to church but cannot always attend due to her work. It has taken some hard preaching to get her to get over her guilt. And I never ever made her go to church. It just shows how engrained it can be. So let us get over our guilt if we do not attend church.
If you are wondering about the author, well wonder no more, I do not go to church ----- six days a week. Why? Because one is plenty for me. I used to attend about 4 services a week and preach in a church. Well actually outside as much as was reasonable. I used to teach a young adult Sunday school. And I enjoyed all of it very much. But I just got a little too filled with dogma and rules and customs to feel comfortable with too much anymore. I still read about 8 sermons a week, 7 days a week of lessons and everyday reading scripture, praying and meditating on my Lord. And then one day going in for the festivities singing and a good rip roaring, happy preacher man sermon live at a community church.
So it can be said that I can appreciate not attending a church.
Church can even be on a "Hollywood" stage!
How about you?
Do you attend your own church?
Life is long you can change your mind whenever you like.
Let us be clear there are some of us that live a basically solitary life. I do not know. I am sociable and have been taught very good social graces. I can make small talk or big talk with the best of them and know when to back down or stand up. I do not fail socially. Neither do you. You are interesting and people like you. Me, not so much ;-0 Seriously we can do the social thing but choose not to. It is all about energy. Some folks just think their energy is better spent elsewhere than in dealing with people. And make no mistake it takes energy to be sociable. Just getting dressed up for it takes time and effort.
Now let us remember some folks like doing that. They also like to get dressed up and go to parties. And that is just fine. For others it is just not their cup of tea. Is one more worthy than the other. I think not.
I hope you pick a good spot
Your way is the right way.
The long and the short of it.
Many churches have a short break in the liturgy where people just get up and greet each other. Many say something to the effect of “peace be with you” to each other. And that is really cool. The response is something like “and with you also”, although the Catholics just changed it, without great adieu. This is normally called “the peace”. Now I reckon that if you are not there then you do not get this wonderful tradition. Wrong! We do it in my house on Sundays. My wife is a tax preparer and works Sundays during this time of year. Heck she works every day this time of year. (Remember to render unto Caesar that which is Caesars’ – and not a penny more) So guess what. I preach at her as she gets ready to go on Sunday mornings and then as a family we hug and say peace. Then off to church my son and I go. Now that works for us.
Perhaps your church is a back porch rocking chair, or a breakfast nook with a view. Or maybe it is quiet contemplation anywhere. Church is a place and nothing more. But going to church is a communal thing. So I must insist that you gather together at least by twos and commune in some sort of spirituality. I just love the Christian notion; whenever two or more of you are gathered in My name, I will be there. One of my favorite mental views is two old people walking hand in hand on a beach. I try to remember that and hold my wife’s hand as often as is reasonable.
It just hit me that you can do it by phone or even the internet. I am down with that. Maybe just maybe me writing and you reading is good enough.
I do not mean to keep you from church.
Wow what would we do without churches? I give money every week to keep them running. Note here that my wife gives to St. Judes and a little to churches. She just thinks that direct to hospitals and the like is the best tithing that she can do. Again this works for our home.
Hey what about church on TV. Why not? That just is reasonable. There was a time I was an LEM II, and that means a Lay Eucharistic Minister of the degree that we brought the “service” to places like nursing homes and home bound folk due to illness. Talk about rewarding! The point is to emphasize that church can be anywhere at anytime if your heart is in it. One time when I was “stationed” in a communist country the closest thing to a service was a Buddhist monastery open for prayer. Shucks I figured no one would mind if I attended and prayed to my God. I was thankful for the little stools they have as I cannot sit cross legged on a wooden floor.
I hope my rambling service here was eclectic.
You see by showing the diverse methods and rambling discourse on worship it was my intention to give a whole bunch of alternatives to church. The idea being that we should not judge another on whether they go to church or not. I hope that the examples are crazier than ones you would give so that you feel in the norm by not attending. Perhaps I should rephrase “by not attending a building and structured worship process”. Maybe just maybe on Sundays I am lazy. Maybe I just go to church so I can get some “religion” and not have to work at it so darned hard, just sit in my pew and sing and play with my son.
I figure that my God just wants me to think about our relationship in earnest once a week at least.