I came across a simple, but powerful thought during a continuing education lecture I was listening to this morning. “What we did last Sunday is a good predictor of what we will do this Sunday.” For many of us, that is getting up and coming to Epiphany. For some of us, it’s tuning in online. For others, the Pandemic has pushed us out of both habits. In fact, if we stare it straight in the face, we have a new habit, and that is sleeping in, or going on a road trip, or something else on Sunday mornings.
It will not be a surprise that as Epiphany’s pastor, I think it’s important that, as the writer to Hebrews puts it, we “not neglect to meet together, as is the habit of some” (10:25). If you have fallen out of the habit of corporate worship, let me encourage you to do the hard work and re-establish it. Here are some reasons it is worth the effort.
Being a Christian isn’t something that is meant to be done alone: Jesus came to establish a community. He had 12 disciples, not one. They listened to Jesus together. They ate together. They worked together. And they suffered and celebrated together. We still do these things together with Jesus today at Epiphany. While we, or any church for that matter, doesn’t always live up to the ideal community Jesus wants, retreating from the church is not a solution, it’s a surrender.
You are missed: One of the hardest realities of this time has been not seeing each other for so long. One of the really joyful things over the last few months has been seeing people connect with each other for the first time in months at church as pandemic restrictions and risks have waned. There is something about being with other people that is good for us, spiritually and emotionally.
A note to parents in particular: I am a parent, and I have a sense of just how complex the choices we face are right now. I’m not going to tell you I know how you should navigate them for you and your family – Andrea and I are muddling through ourselves. But I will say this, the strongest predictor of our kids’ faith once they become adults is not actually what we say about what we believe, but what they see us do. Do they see us prioritizing worship on Sunday morning? It matters.
So, let me encourage you. This Sunday, do the same thing, if it’s going to church, either in-person or online. Or, this Sunday, do something different, and reconnect with the Body of Christ at Epiphany. Don’t let this Pandemic which has taken much from many of us, claim the fullness of your faith as well.