I was interested to read recently about an amusing exercise which had taken place, asking people about their washing habits. Here are some of the responses:
‘I tried washing once but I didn’t like it’. ‘I was forced to wash as a child, which put me off washing’. ‘I used to wash, but it got boring so I stopped’. ‘Very few of my friends wash’. ‘I wash on special occasions like Christmas and Easter’. ‘I used to wash regularly but I don’t have the time anymore’. ‘Washing once a month is more than enough’. ‘People who wash are hypocrites, they think they are cleaner than everyone else’.
These responses are all quite amusing, but I was drawn to thinking that these are the sort of excuses that people sometimes use for not going to church. But why is attending church with others in a public act of worship so important? Here are a few reasons:
We are instructed to do so: ‘Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing’, Hebrews 10:25. In Matthew 18:20 we are told that ‘when two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.’
It is important to remember that we do not go to church to be entertained, but to worship Almighty God as equals and brothers and sisters and to be nourished in the Eucharist. This was very important in the early church. It is also the same for us: when we neglect our public worship, it impacts our faith in Jesus Christ. Christians cannot grow in isolation. If the Church is to function properly, all its body parts need to be present and working, so 1 Corinthians 12: 14-20 tells us. The reason for this is that WE ARE THE CHURCH.