There is really nothing mysterious about what we all want. Peace. Inner Peace. The strength of spirit which sustains us through all of life’s challenges and particularly during its times of hurt, of disappointment, of sorrow, and of conflict. All of us seek that peace which enables us to live tranquil and secure lives in the midst of a chaotic and threatening world.
Christians seek that peace in only one place–a person, Jesus Christ. For the Christian, to know peace is to know Jesus. But that is a lifelong process, which is approached steadily, by degrees, proportionate in no small way to the amount of effort expended. Jesus is always ready to meet us, to share His life with us and to enrich our own struggling lives–but He cannot, will not, force us. We must get to know Him.
The question for those who would find lasting, eternal peace then is “How do we come to know Jesus?”. How do we meet Him?” The answer is not strange or complex: we meet Him in the Church. The Church is His body, made available by Him for the singular purpose of introducing Himself to you!
So how do we meet Jesus? The best way is to go where Christians gather as Christians–in Church, especially on Sundays. Yes, we can meet with Christians elsewhere and other times, but do we? Yes, we can meet with Jesus alone, but do we? Sunday Church attendance is the surest, best way of getting to know Jesus and beginning the process of entering into His peace.
Going to Church puts us in touch with Jesus in a unique way. He speaks to us through the words of Scripture and challenges us through the sermon, He encounters us as we open ourselves to Him in prayer, humbles us through the acknowledgment of our sins, and lifts our spirits through song, but most importantly, He feeds our souls, becomes part of us, when we receive the Holy Communion. For most of us, Sunday worship represents the one time during the week when we can devote ourselves exclusively to God, to meeting Jesus. And it is the only place where we participate in the Holy Eucharist and receive Him mystically into the depths of our souls.
The world is constantly urging it’s deformed values upon us at every turn. If we are to resist, we need a place of sanctuary and spiritual refreshment. We can get by for a while, perhaps, on momentum. But finally, the friction of life drags us down, our lives begin to clutter up and to lose direction. We think less and less of Jesus and more and more about ourselves. What little peace we had wears thinner and thinner.
That is because we have neglected the habit of going to Church, and we are in the process of walking away from a friend, the only friend who can sustain our lives, give them meaning, and preserve them eternally–Jesus Christ. You are in trouble or headed there, when you must decide to go to Church; the fulfilled, spiritually mature person assumes he will go to Church–it’s a habit (and a pleasure).
Of course, after we have gone to Church for a period of time, we recognize that there are other reasons for doing so. We come to realize that, not only do we benefit, but God actually requires us (in the fourth Commandment on keeping holy the Sabbath-day) to devote time each week to Him and his purposes. We come to appreciate discipline and sacrifice in the spiritual life, even when we don’t want to do something. We come to see that what we give to the Church and to God (the weight of our presence and fellowship, the obedience He desires) outweighs what we think we may or may not “get out of it.” We begin to understand that the workings of sin and evil are more subtle than we imagined and that the workings of God are subtler still. And we arrive at that point when we perceive ourselves “out of kilter” without that weekly remembrance of His great mercy and love.
Those who go to Church regularly, know, for the most part why they go. If you are wondering why, perhaps it’s time you attended weekly. Oh, make no mistake about it: not every visit will be a mountaintop experience. But in the long run, this is how we get to know Jesus. And how our lives are truly filled with His peace.
More good reasons to attend church
For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
It is great to love life. Accept life as a precious gift and strive to make the most of it. Do not forget the Lord under any circumstances.
It is great to serve life. The most important thing in life is not what people can do for you, but what you can do for people. Lose yourself in a cause bigger than yourself. Serve God and humanity to the best of your ability.
It is great to be alive to the best in life. To be alive only to material possessions and goals is to live in the shallows. Launch out into the deep of each human soul in Church where the treasures are! Enter God’s palace.
It is great to stand for something. Men of principle are the principal men. Character is the bedrock of true greatness. Do not allow the winds to bend you. Stand and be counted!
It is great to seek excellence. Aspire to excel in your chosen work. Adopt the creed of the maker of the immortal Stradivarius violins: “Perfection consists not of doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.” Church is the most extraordinary place on earth.
Come to Church next Sunday! We need you! Everyone counts!
Information received from Bishop Owen Williams.