‘The God of the universe loves me and invites me to meet with him? Amazing.’
This comment on yesterday’s ‘Lenten minute’ neatly encapsulates why we go to church. We go to church to meet God.
To say that, however, is to open up even more questions. Some of them are tongue-in-cheek: Shouldn’t meeting God be more exciting than my regular weekly Sunday church service? More to the point – can’t I meet God anywhere, at any time? Do I have to go to church to be with God, or to speak with him, or to hear him? And how does God meet us in church? How does he speak to me, or communicate with me there in a way that he doesn’t anywhere else?
But first, let’s define what it means to ‘go to church.’ Most of us call the building we assemble in the church. But it is the assembly of believers for worship that makes the building a church building. The word which we translate ‘church’ is the Greek word ecclesia, which means ‘assembly.’ It’s a pretty vanilla word in English, but it is the ‘assembly’ that is church. So when we say go to church it is not the building we mean, but the gathering, or assembly, of the Christian people to meet the risen Lord Jesus, which has been happening since the very first Easter.
What other questions or thoughts are raised by the statement ‘We go to church to meet God?’ And have you thought of ‘church’ primarily as ‘building’ or ‘people?’