Eddie and Sue Arthur

I’m not going to church tomorrow

It’s latish on Saturday evening and the internet connection is fast enough for me to risk trying to post something here. All I need now is inspiration!

Well, tomorrow is Sunday (that often seems to be the case on Saturdays) and I won’t be going to Church(which is less often the case). The thing is, when I’m away from home, I rarely go to church. I’m away from home a lot and I visit lots of new countries and lots of new cities and if I do return to a place, it’s generally after a gap of a year or more. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy visiting new countries, and I like to see how Church is done in different places too. But, to go to a service in a new city means meeting a whole lot of new people that I may never meet again and I find this very stressful. At the end of a working week, I can rarely muster up the energy to go out and meet with a group of strangers – even if they are strangers who serve the same master as me. As a result, my Sunday mornings away from home tend to be spent on my own, in quietness while everyone else is out at church. Sometimes I sit and worship and enjoy God in the quietness, and sometimes I listen to music and read a book – but I always enjoy the time on my own.

I was asked by a colleague tonight whether I would be going to church in the morning and I replied much as I did above. His response fascinated me – “church isn’t about meeting people, it gives you the chance to meet with God”.

Does it?

I know that meeting with a group of Christians and doing churchy-stuff can help us draw closer to God and to get to know him more, but do I really need to go to a service to meet with God. All this week, I’ve been working with Christians, we’ve prayed together, we’ve meditated on Scripture together and we’ve talked about Bible Translation strategy together. Wasn’t God present then? Do we really need to go to a special building somewhere to experience God’s presence?

Yes, I am aware that Scripture encourages us not to neglect meeting together – and when I’m home, I’ll go to church, and home group, and meet Christian friends to chat and perhaps pray together.

No doubt if I went to church tomorrow, I’d find much to be edified and encouraged by. But I’d find the process so stressful and tiring that I don’t think I’d benefit greatly. And you know what? – I’m pretty sure that even if I don’t consciously think about God during that time, he will look down on me as I sit outside with my second cup of coffee and smile; happy that I’m being wise enough to rest when I need it.

Your comments would be welcomed!

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5 Comments on “I’m not going to church tomorrow

  1. Good decision – although when I make trips I do go to church, not only to meet God but to meet old friends who I know from the time I was living in that city.

  2. Isn’t freedom from the law great! I was preaching in a different church about 10 miles away this morning, but left fairly promptly afterwards to get back to my home church in time for the coffee after the service. I’m probably slightly more extroverted than you so that I can gain some energy from meeting new people, but I prefer spending time with my close Christian family.

  3. That rings true to me. I haven’t travelled as much as you so still like meeting different church communities and seeing how they do things when I am away. I also get so much out of meeting with my church here and would think it would be wrong to lose that. However as for the times when I feel that I have met most closely with God – the church occasions are probably far outnumbered by those on the top of some lonely mountainside where it is rare to see another person let alone other christians. From Southampton that often means a weekend away and missing the Sunday church meetings…

  4. NO problem with you staying away from church in circumstances like you described.

    I think it’s called the “day of rest” for good reason.

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