It was one of those Sunday mornings. After walking with Heidi and eating breakfast, we got in the car to drive to church. Fatigue suddenly hit me from the emotional and physical drain of the week. I could feel mounting resistance at the thought of sitting through church, trying to stay awake and engaged. Was it really worth it to go?
If church attendance is a part of your life, you have probably had similar thoughts. There are those moments when it just seems easier to stay at home, sit in a comfortable chair, and read the Sunday paper. It was just one of those mornings for me, but I didn’t turn the car around. Perhaps because I knew better, or perhaps because Heidi was in the car. In the long run, it didn’t matter why because of what happened next.
No, nothing spectacular occurred during church. There were no Aha moments or emotional breakthroughs. What happened was all the more amazing because it was so gentle, so unobtrusive. As the worship began, one song focused around the Lord’s desire to be our strength—yes, Lord, even when I feel so depleted. When an old hymn about the church came up next, I looked around at everyone there and felt a quiet but distinct connection to them. Yes, I am a part of their lives, as they are of mine. Then I recalled the saints throughout the ages who had all trod the same path of faith and obedience. We are all connected in a long procession of faith, something so much bigger than our individual life circumstances.
During confession, there was a time of silence, deepening with His presence as it progressed. Then as one of the elder’s prayed publicly, I let his intercession wash over me. With the preaching of the Word, I let the old truths soak into me. And when the benediction came, I raised my arms to receive the love of the Father, the love we all need.
What happened to my fatigue, my resistance? It just vaporized in the joy and energy of being in the presence of the saints. “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them” (Matt: 18:20). Yes, that’s the energy of Sunday morning. That’s why I need to be in church. That’s why we all need to be a part of His body, no matter how sad or difficult or even hurtful churches can be at times.
That’s where the life is because that’s where He is. Only Jesus makes the difference, but what a difference it is!