and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.
“Come let us…,” the Psalmist says.
When I was much, much younger (and dumber), someone from my home church saw me in the
grocery store. He said, “We’ve been missing you in church lately. Where’ve you been?”
I felt guilty about not going to church but I wasn’t about to let on. I said, “Oh, I’ve been here and
there, doing this and that. I don’t have to be in church to worship God. I can worship God out on the lake, just
driving my car- anywhere. But thanks for asking.”
My friend wasn’t fooled. He said, “Scott, I know you can worship God while your fishing or in your
car. But, do you?
He had me there. No matter whether it is a church building, at the lake, or on the highway, it is difficult
to worship God while clinging to an exaggerated sense of your own self-sufficiency. Doing what I want, when
I want- how I want- is not an attitude that lends itself to worship no matter where you are. Those who
do worship though, truly worship, are also truly thankful. They understand that their life is a gift, not something
we can make on our own.
Church attendance and worship produce gratitude. It keeps us fully awake, aware, and alive, to God
the Giver. You can go to a concert, and no matter how great the music, you would miss something vital if you
were the only person present.
In that same vein, imagine trying to appreciate the full meaning of your life- with all of its highs and
low, twist and turns, beauties and sorrows- alone. Someone once described an atheist as a person with no one
to say “thank you” to when things are going well, and no one to complain to when its not. There are many
things in life that are, and perhaps, must be experienced alone. Usually those things have a sad quality about
them. All by itself, just the word “alone” has a daunting and tragic quality to it.
However, both the little and the large things of our lives have more significance when lived and
shared with others. Worship brings us together, with God and each other, where we may see for ourselves that
we are not alone, not really. We are never truly on our own. If there is no one else around you, God is.
There is great value to the realization that Christian worship- our faith- is not just a personal experience,
but something that belongs to the whole community- a community that includes people we don’t know
yet and spans the generations. That is because there are times when it is easy for me to believe, and there are
other times when it is not so easy to believe. It’s good to know that worshipping God does not always depend
upon what I believe, feel or understand, at any given moment. It depends upon God who cares and is really
there for us, and on the faith of His Church as a whole. Not just me.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than
going to McDonalds makes you a cheeseburger.” That’s probably true.
However, not going to church-not worshipping God on a regular basis- makes it less likely that you
will ever want to be anything more than you already are, or believe any more than you already do- which is a
shame. The Lord has more joy, more life, to share with us all. It would be a shame to miss it by demanding to
be left alone.
So, “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for he his is our
God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care (Ps. 95.6-7).
This then, is an invitation: To come and worship God with others who share this life with you. It’s not
a matter of can or can’t, should or shouldn’t. It’s a matter of will. Will you give yourself to something- Someone-
larger than yourself? Will you give yourself to Someone willing to lay down his life that we all might
live? Not can you.
May God keep you in his care ‘til we worship again,
Bro. Scott Brenton