Going to God's House
Do you enjoy going to church on Sunday? Or on Saturday or Wednesday? There are many opportunities to do so here in Luverne and the surrounding area. In 2013 the Pew Research Center reported that 37 percent of all Americans attended church on a weekly basis. (Pewresearch.org, Sept.13, 2013.) This seems to be an increase from a few years earlier. Are these statistics similar for the Luverne area? It would be interesting to know.
What are our reasons for going to God’s House? Some people mistakenly think that going to church is like going to a social club. Yes, it’s great to see family and friends in this setting, but that’s not our primary reason for going to church. We also don’t attend in order to look good to others in our community.
God says in his word: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23-25 NIV 1984)
The purpose of going to God’s House then is to be built up and strengthened by God’s word in his Means of Grace. The Holy Spirit uses the proclaimed word to strengthen our faith and to draw us closer to him. He uses the word with the waters of Holy Baptism to create faith in our hearts and to bring us into the family of believers. He uses the word and presence of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper to build up our faith and encourage us while on this difficult life journey.
We also attend in order to sing praises to our Creator, Savior, and Sanctifier — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To thank God for all his many blessings freely, graciously given to us. To hear again how he sent his Son Jesus to become one of us so he could take our place. Jesus perfectly kept God’s law, innocently suffered, died on the cross to pay for our sins, and rose victorious from the grave. By this he assures us that he is God’s Son, he keeps his promises, his work of salvation is complete, and that we too will rise.
We also go to God’s House to join our family of believers in prayer. Here we bring our concerns and needs before the Lord who promises to hear and answer according to his will. We also give and receive encouragement at church. You too provide encouragement to others, even if you don’t realize it. Just by your presence you are showing others that going to church is important for our spiritual growth. By talking with your “brothers and sisters” you’re showing concern for them and can reassure them that you’re praying for them.
If you haven’t been to God’s House in a while, I encourage you to do so. Like the parable of the Prodigal Son, the Father is waiting to welcome you with open arms. He forgives all of our sins, our waywardness, our laziness. He gives you strength and resolve to improve your life, to overcome temptations, and to share His selfless love with others.
Psalm 122:1 “I rejoiced with those who said to me, Let us go to the house of the Lord.” We look forward to seeing you in God’s House this Sunday!