Why do you go to church? This is a question that I am sure all of us have been asked more times than we can remember. It’s a question that the “asker” queries us, expecting to receive back a short answer. I believe that they often expect to hear something about Jesus in our reply. Something like, “because I believe in Jesus.” Or, “Jesus is my Lord and Savior.” I think these expected answers are a little thin and could use some more substance. These answers don’t explain church, they don’t explain faith and they don’t explain why we attend. The “asker,” is genuinely curious in their asking. And yet the “asker” does not want to hear us break into a long dialogue about faith either. They don’t have the time and or the vocabulary to hear about anything deeply theological in our explanation. Today we have been accustomed or perhaps trained to know it all in less than 10 or 30 seconds. We can thank the media and the merchants of “Corn Flakes” and dish soap for our short attention spans. “Why do you go to church”, an answer that I think can be boiled down to a single word.
Connection – church is about relationships.
“I connect at church.” I think this word opens the door for the “asker” to ask more specific questions. It allows them to delve into a deeper reason why they even asked us the question. Connection, what about the church connects us? Let me offer a couple of examples. I officiated at two weddings this time last fall. Each of these soon to be married couples had a connection with that church, with members of that church and even a connection with me. One couple has parents who were married in this church. A couple lives around the corner from that church and felt that it is a part of their community. One couple had roots to a small town in in Northeast Missouri were they had long standing relationships with my wife’s family. One couple even had a connection to Northminster as the groom was the grandson of Bob and Corrine Brown. Those soon to be marrieds had a connections, through the church or through its members. Connection: by choice, coincidence or by random accident. Or could it be that “God thing,” that seems to pop up regularly in the lives of the church goer. Connection with others occurs in the church when we reach out to be in relationship with others. It is an opportunity to allow the unexpected thing to take root and grab us in an unpredicted way. Connecting through generosity with others, personal enrichment through relationship with others. By, gaining a deeper self-reflection, or establishing loving relationships with others, learning new things about our self-worth, learning more about God. Jesus is our looking glass into which we see ourselves, see others and see the future and connect. Church roots us in life and shows us that we are not alone in the world, but a part of it. We are in relationship with more than just the people at work, more than just the folks who live next door. Church shows us that we are more. Church connects us with the “dignity of others.” Church is about learning to be more than we could ever be on our own. “Why do you go to church,” if I remember Jesus’ words correctly I think he said, “come and see?” “Why do you go to church,” to make connections, perhaps others that we are connected to in other venues would like to connect, invite them to “come and see.”