Last Sunday, my husband and I slept late and skipped church. That might not have seemed like a big deal to most people, but it could be a very big deal if you are one of the pastors of a church. Fortunately, John was not scheduled to preach. In fact, he asked to be excused from his usual duties so that we could celebrate our wedding anniversary. 51 years is a big deal.
Surely then, out of gratitude to God for blessing our marriage, shouldn’t we attend church? I could have chosen to feel guilty for skipping church. I considered that option—but not for long.
Does that mean that I think church attendance is unimportant? No. It simply means that I can live in the freedom of grace, as Jesus did. He understood what the purpose of the Sabbath was and is.
Something designed to bring rest for our bodies, refreshment to our souls, and renewal to our spirits. Not something to be used for attaining performance points.
Rest, refreshment, and spiritual renewal come to us when we simply receive God’s grace and live in his presence.
His presence is not limited to the square-foot dimension of any church building. Jesus, the Creator and Sustainer of every universe is present everywhere in it.
As John and I walked among the trees and flowers of the arboretum in Ottawa, we knew that God was with us.
Our bodies, souls, and spirits were refreshed and renewed. Will we go to church next Sunday? Yes, indeed! We seldom miss a service.
When we worship with like-minded brothers and sisters—having the eyes of our hearts focused on Jesus and desiring his presence—he comes in awesome ways to teach, comfort, strengthen, and heal us.
Why don’t I feel guilty for oversleeping and skipping church? Because I don’t go to church in order to earn brownie points from God. He doesn’t like me better when I go. I’m free to go or not to go. He respects my choice. Most of the time I chose to attend church. Not because I have to. Because I want to.
I hope that’s the same for you.