This was originally posted by me in 1999 on my old homepage.
Why go to Church?
Let me confess something first. I’ve always thought that church was boring. I sat through countless chapel sessions in my 12 years at the Anglo-Chinese schools and by the time I was Secondary One, I was thoroughly sick and tired of someone preaching up there at the pulpit. The songs that we had to sing were all the same anyway, and when I was a non-Christian (or pseudo-Christian, perhaps), they didn’t really mean anything except for a chance to rebel and just mouth the words along. One common sight during my time, and maybe even now, is that of students taking chapel to be a good time to doze off and catch up on their dreams.
And when I was asked to go to a church on a few occasions when I was young, what worse thing could happen except to see that it was little, if not different from my dreary chapel sessions? More preaching – sheesh. And the fact that I would not be able to get up late on Sundays?!? What about my cartoons?
Church? No way jose
Well, since that time, I’ve become an "ardent fan" of going to church. Not that it’s anything hip to do or that I go there to look and act holy, but church has become much more than waking up early on Sunday mornings to say your prayers and confessions. Nothing short of physical exhaustion or disembodiement will stop me from going to Leng Kwang and there are good reasons why, something I hope non-church-going Christians and non-believers out there will stop and read about here.
A church is not a building
A church is a community of believers. A few Christians coming together to worship and serve him can be effectively termed a "church" already. When Christians first started out in the first century, they worshipped in small groups at secret locations, many fearing persecution from the Roman Emperor. How great it is that we have religious freedom in Singapore, where we can worship where and where we like!
No Christian is an island. I always hear excuses from my friends saying that its perfectly fine with them to stay at home to pray to God. For isn’t he/she the same Christian whether they go to church or not? God listens to them still right?
Well, of course God still listens to you, I guess. But what’s the point of doing it all alone? Does one grow up and mature better interacting with others or alone in the wild? Sociologists will readily tell you the former is the better deal. Christians will tell you it’s the same with worshipping Christ together with other believers.
When I’m with my church mates, I learn of their joys and their pain in their walk with God. I tell of my own thanksgiving and grievings. I learn again and again that I am not alone in this rocky road to Christlikeness, that our faith is real, that there are people who are willing to bank their entire lives for the faith alone. I want to be like them, and I learn from the mistakes that we all make. We are only humans, and we are weak. With Christ, in our weaknesses, we are strong, and I can see that in my church.
I see the work of God in our lives. I see miracles. Nothing like the parting of the Red Sea but things out of the ordinary, which is enough to prove God’s existence. To me, a simple conversion of a cynical friend is more than enough a miracle, for nothing can soften the hearts of men but God alone.
I learn the meaning of accountability. I have made my public confession of good faith in front of them, and in my confession, promised to keep true to the Lord, both to them, to myself and most importantly, to Him. I backslide easily, and there are always hands to reach out and grab when I feel myself falling from grace. Some hands are weak, some are strong, but they are there, always.
I think alot about theological issues. Sometimes, the mystery of God is too much to take and silly ideas come up to challenge my faith. Church is where I go to seek answers, from Christians who have asked the same questions before. There aren’t always answers, but there is the faith which they demonstrate in their life and words. The faith is so simple, yet so complex….And I realise there’s no need to be another smart aleck. For leaning upon your own understanding is a mistake we often make.
I’ve never been a good singer, and get tired of singing easily. But I never cease to be amazed by the songs which were penned by Christians, which often describe so accurately my own situations, my joy and my pain. Often, to tell the truth, the songs are just sung for the sake of singing, but there are times when they minister to my soul so strongly I weep.
Lastly, and most importantly, I go to church to worship my God. What’s the meaning of worship? My dictionary says: "To show love, admiration and respect to a God." Precisely. I can do it by myself, but isn’t better to feel the joy of others worshipping God alongside you? Isn’t it great to know that you’ll be seeing these people for eternity, as we take on new bodies and see God in all his glory?
So what’s stopping you from going to church?
(this post now appears in www.iantan.org)