Church And Should

Are you always clear about why you say “Yes” or “No” to particular things at church?

I’m not.

Jon Swanson wrote a great piece yesterday (A Public Service Reminder) about some of the conflicted feelings people experience around the special church events of Holy Week.

I get exactly what he’s saying.

I pretty much gave up going to church because “I’m supposed to.” I attend because it’s important to me, because the experience and the people and the teaching matter. On days when I don’t go, for whatever reason, I don’t feel guilty.

Most of the time I can distinguish “I’m not going” from “I don’t feel like going.” Feelings can be tricky; often the days I most need to go are the ones when I don’t feel like it. So I get my backside out the door, not because I’m supposed to, but because I know it’s the best thing for me.

Sometimes I think I should be more reverent or holy or involved in church stuff, as though words like that are somehow interchangeable. I know I get closest when I listen to God and my wife, respond to issues and gatherings that touch something in my heart, and give those my best efforts. I include Becky because she’s great about holding me accountable, which I appreciate. On my own, I’m pretty good at getting off track.

So what about those “special” services?

I don’t attend mid-week (Wednesday) services most of the year. My excuse is that our small group meets the same night, but honestly I probably wouldn’t go anyway. I do listen to the teaching occasionally online, if that gets me any extra credit points.

So—should I make a special effort to go during Holy Week?

It’s really part of a bigger question you might encounter—if someone hasn’t attended church for a long time, is it okay for them to show up on Easter?

What are your thoughts?

Are special Holy Week services important to you? Why? Is it tradition, a time to prepare your heart, a chance to gather with your church family in a sacred moment?

How much of this is about guilt and obligation and social pressure? If that’s the motivation, should folks just stay home?

I keep asking myself if Jesus cares who shows up, or why they show up. I keep wondering if He cares whether I show up.

I suspect He does.

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