A Little Brevity to Start the Week: Why Go to Church?
Posted by Jon on March 16, 2008
Sorry to break from the norm, but I got this from my mom and thought this forum would enjoy it (and who doesn’t enjoy a laugh on Mondays!). Disclaimer, I don’t know if it’s a true story. It probably isn’t. It’s meant to put a smile on your face as you start your week. After you read the story, I’ve included some thoughts and pointers that help me get the most out of my Sunday worship at church.
Why go to church?
A church goer wrote a letter a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday.
“I’ve gone for 30 years,” he wrote, “and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one of them. So, I think I’m wasting my time and the pastors are waisting theirs by giving sermons at all.”
This started a real controversy in the “Letters to the Editor” column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for several weeks until someone wrote this clincher:
“I’ve been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meal. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this, they all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today.”
The message should be clear to everyone, but I think the first person’s thoughts are probably felt by a lot of LDS members from time to time, or even more often than that. Going through the motions is something almost everyone is guilty of from time to time, but here are my top five few suggestions to help keep you “nourished” from your weekly ritual of going to church:
- Bring your scriptures, and use them.
- Doing so helps you pay attention during talks (even the ones that make the Bishop fall asleep), as well as class. One reason we go to church aside from the most important reason, sacrament, is to be nourished by the good word to prep us for the week ahead. Chances are by following along you’ll find yourself either learning something new, receiving some form of inspiration or stumbling upon a scripture you hadn’t read in a while.
- Arrive at least 10 minutes early.
- Sure, arriving early with kids can be difficult (even if you’re church starts at 12:30 p.m. like ours does). And sometimes the extra minutes just give the kids more time to get restless. But arriving early and meditating (again, if possible), or at least getting set and ready for sacrament will help you effectively prepare to be nourished by the spirit. It also helps you prepare spiritually for the sacrament.
- Prepare for the class you will attend during the week.
- This applies to you even if you’re teaching a lesson. Don’t just leave it to the night before, although in case I seem all high-and-mighty, let me assure you I’m as guilty as the next person at preparing the night–or worse, the morning of my lesson. Early prep for the class will help you actively participate in the lesson and discussion. It also helps you remember to study your scriptures during the week, hence the byproduct is a good thing as well.
- Live the gospel.
- This goes without saying, but it doesn’t always happen. Remember, you are not just LDS on Sunday. It should be apparent in how you conduct yourself during the week. Rely on the lessons and testimonies you heard from the previous Sunday if needed.
- Concentrate on Christ and the spirit of the sacrament while partaking of the sacrament.
- Yes, once again this is easier said than done when you have little children crawling or jumping all over you. However, I’ve seen from watching my own son that my example I try to set for him during those few minutes of the meeting can be effective in demonstrating the importance of this sacred ritual. Something I’ve found that helps me keep the spirit of the ordinance while I’m partaking of the bread and the water is to read the words of the hymn we just sung before the bread and water was blessed and passed. In my opinion, this is by far the most important aspect of Sunday worship.