Lenten Devotional: Friday, April 4

by Joe Dennis

April 4, 2014
Hebrews 10:25

Some people have given up the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.

“My faith is strong. I have a good personal relationship with God. I pray every day. I do good deeds. There’s really no need to go to church.”

Do any of those reasons for not attending church resonate with you?

They certainly did for me a few years ago. But now, I can’t imagine – nor would I want – a life without church. My faith grows with every Sunday service. Countless times my faith has been renewed, my spirits uplifted, my practices challenged and my life inspired, by being an active member of Oconee Street UMC.

In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul reminds us of the importance of a faith community. But what Paul doesn’t warn us about is how easy it is to lose touch with that community, and in effect lose touch with God.

It’s happened several times in my life. I miss church one Sunday for a “legitimate” reason like a sick child or I’m out of town. The next Sunday I think about all the work I have to do, and somehow that one hour on Sunday morning is absolutely critical for me to do all that work. The next week I realize my Sunday afternoon is crammed with kid’s activities, and since I worked all day Saturday I deserve that one hour to relax. After three weeks of missing church, I’m embarrassed to return, so I stop attending altogether.

Meanwhile, I’m not being challenged by Pastor Lisa’s sermons to change my life to be more Christ-like. My faith is not being renewed through singing hymns, hearing the Gospel and listening to the opening prayer. My spirits are not being uplifted through greeting church family in the passing of the peace. My life is not being inspired through hearing everyone’s joys and concerns.

By missing church regularly, God begins to disappear from my life.

I won’t let that happen anymore. If I want to remain faithful, I need to attend church.

Prayer: Dear God. Thank you for giving us such a wonderful church family at Oconee Street UMC. We pray that you help us remain faithful to you through our presence, practice and prayer. Amen.

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