When I was little, my family were one of the few in our neighborhood that had a television. That round black and white “television tube” provided hours of entertainment to our family. Unlike today, most households had one TV (unless you were very wealthy, then you had two). Father and mother controlled what we watched, and among many of the shows we spent time watching, was our favorite, “I’ve Got a Secret,” where a panel of celebrities would guess somebody’s secret. Well, I’ve got a secret, too, and I need to come clean.
I was raised going to church every Sunday morning, Sunday evening and on Wednesdays (and also to camp and Vacation Bible School). That’s what was expected and that’s what we did. However, in the last 18 months, I’ve attended church maybe five times total. At first I had a legitimate reason … seeing to family needs 130 miles away. Then I got out of the habit of going, which led to excuses, then led to some laziness … you name it, I could find a reason to stay at home.
There was good and bad that came out of this time away. While I grew deeper in my prayer life, still clutching to my faith, I had no accountability. That’s a piece of this puzzle I was missing, so I began asking for direction.
Direction came and came quickly. I was thrust into a new environment where I had no control over much of anything. Uncomfortable? Yes, but well worth it. If left to my own devices, I would quickly deceive myself into justifying just about anything.
Christians in many different countries risk their lives to meet together and worship God. Governments under certain regimes can regulate church attendance. Christians are persecuted in tremendous numbers globally. Chinese Christians have been jailed, interrogated, and even killed for defying the government’s orders to take down the crosses on their churches or to demolish the buildings entirely.
Why do believers still try to meet? Why is worshipping God together worth risking their lives? Because they know, contrary to many of us in the Western world, that believers need God and we need each other. Having that taken away likely would make us realize what a privilege attending church each week truly is.
So now I’m back in church … not because of guilt thinking I have to be there, but because of grace because I want to be there.
Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”