Here are five reasons, not necessarily in order of importance, I would give the reluctant and the skeptical to check out church, despite their reservations:
A healthy church will help you get over yourself. One of the primary aims of good preaching is to invite us into a story much larger than our own.
A healthy church will allow you to acknowledge guilt and experience forgiveness. As Toni Morrison’s wonderful character Baby Suggs puts it to her congregation, here you can come to “lay it all down.” It may not seem that acknowledging guilt would be a particularly attractive reason to attend church, but you find, if you do it, that it’s amazingly restorative.
A healthy church will invite you into countercultural community. It won’t be an extension program in civil religion.
A healthy church will give you access to a treasury of words and music. It will bring you into a centuries-old conversation that includes the whole “communion of saints.” Where else are you likely to encounter words like “blessing” or “grace” or “parable” or “holy” or, for that matter, “shibboleth” or “Sabaoth”? Where else are you likely to encounter a conversation that takes you to the ancient world and back, bearing gifts for the present, sometimes wrapped in antique language?
Healthy churches are places of divine encounter. Singing is one way to “enter into God’s courts.” … When we sing we learn viscerally and audibly what it means to be “one in the Spirit.”
Hearing sacred texts read aloud also brings us into alignment with others who inhabit the same story. It is our story—all of ours—available to be entered and explored like a great territorial preserve.
And the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion—whatever name it is given in a particular denominational tradition—has become, for me, Protestant that I am, the moment of encounter I most eagerly await when I go to church. ,
Distracted, reluctant, confused, or apathetic you may be on any given Sunday, but if you go, something will happen.
Read it all here.
Why do you go to church regularly?
Image: All Saints Episcopal Church Pasadena