I remember a Sunday morning when I was seven years old riding in the car with my mom to church. It was the first time that we were going back to church after my dad died. I remember that just as we were about to turn left onto Lions Road from Main Street in my hometown of Sandwich that I asked my mom: “Why are we going back to church?” Now, I don’t know if these were the exact words that she used, but I remember her saying something to the effect of, “It’s what we have to do.”
It’s what we have to do. Maybe as that seven-year-old boy I thought that Mom meant that church was a place that we were obligated to go to every week. Maybe there was a moment when I thought that church was something that you had to do to be a good person. I’m not sure exactly what I thought at the time. I was only seven years old, after all! But if I did have those thoughts I don’t think that they lasted very long, because eventually I came to understand what my mom meant when she said that going to church was what we had to do.
You see, my mom had experienced the importance of the community of the church. And so for her the question wasn’t, why are we going back to church, it was: Where else would we go? Who else could we turn to? Other than that place and those people?
Now I know exactly what my mom was talking about when she said that going to church was what we had to do. You see I learned very quickly that Church is much more than a couple of hours on Sunday morning. I learned that Church is much more than a building. Church is the community that feels like home, because everyone knows you and accepts you for who you are. Church is the people you run and tell about your greatest joys, and Church is the people you trust to call up when you are at your worst. Church is the community of brothers and sisters in the faith who are united together by love and hope in Christ. Church is a family. It’s a team.
I can honestly say that it is because of my home church, and the relationships that I still have from my youth group growing up, and the relationships with other Christians in college and seminary, and the relationships with people at all the other churches I have worked at, that it’s because of those relationships that I am who I am today as a person, but most of all who I am today as a Christ follower. I would be completely impoverished if not for them. Because I couldn’t do this on my own. I can’t do it on my own.
This week we continue our Batter Up sermon series by focusing in on the importance of a team. Our faith is a team sport. We need each other in the church to come together in cohesion and collaboration to achieve our mission, and to support each other. We’ll look with Paul in Philippians to Christ our head. See you Sunday!
“Most important, live together in a manner worthy of Christ’s gospel… Do this so that you stand firm, united in one spirit and mind as you struggle together to remain faithful to the gospel… Complete my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, being united, and agreeing with each other. Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.” (Philippians 1:27, 2:2-4, CEB)