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If You Skip Church, Don't Ask this Question

If you attend church on a regular basis but miss a Sunday now and then, you may, like most of us, ask this question (at least silently) once the service is over:

What did I miss by not being there?

We want to know...

How was the speaker/preacher?

What was the sermon about?

How was the music?

What songs did they sing?

How did the band sound?

We want to know all about the things that benefit us when we're at church.

But I stumbled across something a friend said on her blog: we've been asking the wrong question when we skip church.

What we should be asking is...

What did others miss by my not being there?

What lonely soul left without a hug due to my absence?

Who wasn't able to look into my eyes and hear me say, "You're not alone"?

Who was never asked her name, where she was from, and what brought her here, because I didn't show up?

Who occupied a row of chairs alone because I wasn't there?

Who left still starving for conversation because I stayed home? Who needed my smile in particular, because I like to smile into the eyes and not just at the face?

Who wanted so desperately to lift his hands in praise or pray out loud, but didn't, because I wasn't there to "go first?"

Who left with a heavy heart because I wasn't there to meet her at the altar?

What mom needed me to sit and color with her child so she could listen to an adult speak for a change?

What despondent teenager needed me to take an interest in the very fact that he exists?

What elderly gentleman didn't get to tell anyone that he lost his wife this past week?

Who didn't show up at all because she knew I wouldn't be there?

And what did she miss that could have changed her life?

These are the questions we should be asking when we miss church. But of course, that would require a change in the way we understand church in the first place.

What is church? Is it a building, or is it people?

If the latter, what are they there for? For me? Or am I there for them?

Me thinks anyone, inside or outside the church, might guess the answer. Now let's start asking ourselves a better question when we skip a Sunday.

(What do you think? Do you see your value as a church member? I'd love to know your thoughts. Share a comment!)

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1 comentário

24 de abr. de 2023

I would go further and ask the question “Where do I need to be at what time for what person?“ all those things you listed as questions are great - but maybe are better accomplished outside the church walls? How often do we think about those things as a part of our everyday life and how we bring life to the people around us?

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