When I was a teenager, I remember having a conversation with my father about why I had to go to church. At the time, many of my friends didn’t attend church and so they were left to sleep until whenever they wanted to get up on Sunday morning. Most of them were out late on Saturday night, so sleeping in was expected in their houses. Even in those days, the early 80s, going to church was falling out of favour with young people.
At the time, rumours were rampant about the activities going on in other churches. Teenagers were beginning to rebel against the church because of these rumours…or so they said. Teenagers were beginning to tell parents that they were not going to follow their traditions simply to be like their parents; they wanted to choose their own activities and traditions, not just do what their parents did. Teenage rebellion was alive and well! The fact is, teenage rebellion is alive and well in every generation.
When I tried to argue with my father about going to church the conversation took a different tone. I was expecting him to argue with me about how important church was, and that God was more important than sleeping in. I was expecting him to say that I should go to worship God because he was responsible for everything I had and I should show him gratitude. I was expecting dad to argue that God gave me life and I should be thankful, and go to God’s house to show him I was grateful! But, dad didn’t say any of that.
Instead, dad asked me a simple question. He asked me what was something I thought was very important to me and what I would do to get to this activity? I remember thinking for a few minutes. What was the most important thing to me at that time? Was it my family? School? My friends? Was it an activity that I enjoyed? Before I could answer dad with what I wanted most to do, he asked me another question. He asked me if I would do anything for that activity, why couldn’t I spend an hour a week thanking God for giving me the ability to do that activity?
I was stumped!
I began thinking about what I would do for my friends and family. I thought about what I would do for all the activities I thought were essential to my life at the time. I would do anything for the people in my life and the activities I enjoyed. It was then that I realized that if I would do anything to participate in an activity I liked, then why couldn’t I give an hour a week to God who gave me the ability to do all the things I loved?
In that one question, my father made me realize that going to church was even more important than all the activities I enjoyed. My ability to do these things was God given and I should at least thank him once a week!
Many people think going to church is about the minister or the building or the particular service, but really it’s about spending time with Our Lord and Saviour in a space where there aren’t any interruptions. It’s an hour devoted to thanking God for everything we have now, and for the promise of spending eternity with God in heaven. Going to church is our reward for working hard all week with all the noise and trouble of the world. Church is the one space where the noise stops and the focus is on our creator.
God Bless you all!