The second most important sermon that I have heard happened as best I recall before we were married even. We joined my soon to be in-laws at the church we would later be married in, and our child baptized in, and so on. I don’t think it was a holiday; I don’t know why we went to church. The pastor preached on how going to church is a counter-cultural thing to do, a rebellious thing to do. It seems like an act of “being good” or worse of “looking like a good person”. But in reality, to sincerely worship and belong to a church is to be completely counter to the norms. It puts God first, even if just one hour. It is an intention to connect with others. It is denying the world’s value of “winning” for God’s value of “loving”.
And it is a hard thing to do. It is so much easier to just sleep in, read the paper, go for a run, drink some coffee, go out to eat, work in the garden….You don’t get points for showing up and God doesn’t love you more, because you don’t earn love. Going to church is hard. And people can be very annoying.
Translating the feeling of being beloved by God into the action of going to church — and doing this nearly every week even when our kid was little — was not always easy, and rarely fun, and sometimes deeply boring.
What takes it to an even deeper level is “keeping Sabbath”. So all week, for six days, you do what you do, plus you get done errands and chores that might otherwise need to be done on Sunday. And you prepare your clothes for Sunday. And you figure out what you are going to feed people after, how to make that special — pancakes, or french toast, or eggs or …. Having it all ready.
So every Sunday is a party. Every Sunday is a huge break from endless daily chores, from earning our keep.
Actually, for me “Sunday” starts about 4pm on Saturday and ends about 4pm on Sunday when I start prepping for Monday again.
But “keeping Sabbath” brings some delight back into merely living. And every single time I go to church I think: I’m being a rebel. I’m being counter-cultural. I’m saying we are each of us valuable and connected to each other because She loves us.