Sept. 18: Back to Church SundayChurch — What do you mean “Church?” “I don’t get anything out of it, so why go?” Or “If my folks did not make me go to church, I wouldn’t go, because it is sssssooooooo boring!”
By: Tom Geffre, chaplain at Ave Maria Village, The Jamestown Sun
Church — What do you mean “Church?” “I don’t get anything out of it, so why go?” Or “If my folks did not make me go to church, I wouldn’t go, because it is sssssooooooo boring!”
These are questions and comments that most people have heard from friends, relatives, parents or children. And to a certain extent, it is difficult to answer the questions/comments. Much of the answer that one could give depends on personal experiences of the individual trying to give the answers.
Sunday, Sept. 18, is National Back to Church Sunday. Allow me to offer my humble answer to these questions/comments.
1. Church is a community of persons. We are social beings. In this setting we may see people we have not seen throughout the week. In this community we share in their joys, in the struggles, in the concerns, in the successes and in the failures of all who are there. We need that contact with others to help us and others through the “think and the thin.” We offer each other support ... that is what builds community. God is community … Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God is there to help us with all we encounter during the day, during the week. As we build community within our churches, we build upon the community of God and vice versa. That, to me, is very powerful.
2. Church offers us one of the best history lessons we could receive anywhere. Both the Old and New testaments of the Bible offer insight into the development of God’s people, of which we are a part. The history lessons indicate to us how God so loved his people that he forgave them of their transgressions countless number of times. That same forgiveness occurs each time we are in church. We ask for forgiveness as well as giving it to our “community.”
3. In church we will receive one of the best psychology lessons on living we could receive anywhere. In the New Testament, Jesus gives us the rules for successful living ... he teaches us how to love, how to forgive and how to treat others. Jesus also teaches us how to treat ourselves. These are all key factors in building community as well as building up ourselves for the kingdom of God.
Let me conclude with a story.
Two gentlemen were discussing this very question of “why go to church if I get nothing out of it.” The man who was making this claim was going on and on about how dull, useless, and trivial the church service can be and that he could remember nothing from the services, etc.
Finally the second man chimed in. He said, “You know, my wife has made me many, mean, meals years. I’m sure some of them better than others. I’m sure some of them were rather dull ... and for the life of I cannot remember very many of them … but I do know that all of them did me some good. They gave the nourishment I needed to sustain life.
Is Church meaningless? Quite the contrary. It gives us that spiritual nourishment we all need for healthy living.
Have a great week.
(Deacon Tom Geffre is chaplain at Ave Maria Village, Jamestown)