“I have to get back to church.”
This was the first thing someone said to me when I bumped into them at a grocery store. They did not greet me with a “hello” or a “how is your summer?” I could tell there was some guilt behind the words. I assured her that I was not judging her but she indeed had been missed. “The community is not the same without you.”
My words to her are true. Every time someone is gone, they are missed. We are not the same. Every time we stay away or have something else to do, the community suffers. We miss the energy of the many, we miss the relationship with that person and we miss the potential for deeper faith with her or him.
Persons who are missed also have the potential of missing out as well. They might have missed an opportunity to be touched by the Holy Spirit. They might have missed seeing a newborn baby for the first time. They might have missed time with community that would be helpful at later times in their lives.
A few months ago someone gave me some ideas for sermons and told me that he thought we should do some of them in church because we haven’t really talked about those particular issues much. I chuckled and asked him where he was when I did that exact series. He said he was out of the routine of coming to church. He then asked where to find the podcasts. “I wish I would have been there, I needed to hear about that.”
A final and real statement from someone at a church (Not Flowing Grace): “We need to be better at sharing the joys and concerns about people. I had no idea (name deleted) had cancer and was going through treatments. I would have liked to have helped.” That same person had been prayed over in church and was continually shared during prayer time.
These illustrations are not made to provide guilt but to have us consider our routine, especially as many of us head back to the routine of a school year. Where will God be in your routine? Where will church be? Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means you do anything and everything to have Christ be the center. Will sports get in the way? You job and career ambitions? Will a desire to sleep in trump the need to be in fellowship on a Sunday morning with other believers? Will late night TV stop you from praying before bed because you are too tired?
Here is something you can do. Add one thing to your calendar to do every day. Prayer, scripture reading, write a note to someone in prison etc. Add it to your calendar every day as a reminder that God should be part of our day, every day. I have done that on our calendar and invite you to do the same.
By the way, for those of you I have not seen in church lately, you have been missed. Hope to see you this Sunday!