Why Do You Go to Church?

Photo by Chad Greiter on Unsplash

The Gospels have several stories about the call of the apostles: fishermen, the tax collector, the political agitator and others who encounter Jesus through witnessing His actions and hearing His teaching. They choose to follow Him. Later they discover that they were chosen by Him first.

This brings up the interesting question: Why should we live our faith today? Is it something that we choose to help us live a good life or is it something that chooses us to lead others to a new understanding of what it means to be human?

The answer to that question is at the center of what Church attendance is all about.

Jesus refers to his disciples as witnesses and calls them to testify to His truth to the ends of the Earth. This is what they then do. He warns them that their life will be difficult and they will be opposed even by friends and family. Such are not the words of someone who is inviting anyone to enjoy a more comfortable life if he or she follows him. It is more the call of one who has an important task that must be accomplished and calls for his followers to do it, even at a cost.

He warns them that their life will be difficult and they will be opposed even by friends and family. Such are not the words of someone who is inviting anyone to enjoy a more comfortable life if he or she follows him.

Do scientists enter that field because they want to feel comfortable or is there something else that draws them into it? It is obviously the latter. That concept is similar to what we understand as disciples of Christ.

Jesus calls us to follow him because he is the truth. The key word is truth. One of the principles of Christian teaching is that there is the human truth but there is a deeper truth beyond what one can discover on his/her own.

Let me put it in a way I commonly use. The statement that we cannot prove the existence of God does not mean that God does or does not exist. It simply means his existence or lack thereof cannot be determined definitely by the current tools at our disposal.

Does God exist? I believe yes, but that means that I believe in a reality that is more than science currently understands but not instead of science bigger than the current tools of science. Therefore, I believe in a reality that includes all of what we can see and more of what we cannot see.

If I do not believe that God exists then I believe in a reality that I can see or that ultimately only can be seen by myself or other humans aided or unaided and nothing else.

The Christian vocation is not one of getting people to feel comfortable, but one to proclaim a bigger reality than we can see on our own. If such a reality exists then it also affects the way we live. Understanding this principle is the difference between orientating our life one way or the other. If there is no God and there is nothing else but what we can see here then we can orient our life one way, but if there is a bigger reality than what we see then we need to orient our life differently.

St. Paul said it best in the oldest eyewitness account of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15, if Jesus did not resurrect from the dead (testifying to a greater truth beyond our perception) then we are wasting our time. Atheists may be surprised that in a sense he agreed with them. If they are right we need to eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we may die. However, if Jesus did resurrect from the dead and there is a greater reality than we can perceive then we need to live for that greater reality or we are cheating ourselves by living by what we can see as reality but is not the fullness of reality.

The Christian life is all about testifying to a greater reality rather than trying to do something that makes us feel comfortable.

Why should people attend Church? Is it because it makes them feel good, it is the right thing to do or because they are responding to an understanding of a reality bigger than their ability to perceive it.

Answering that question is one of the most important for us to understand before we go about inviting people to Church.

Now go read the Prologue of John and ask that question again.

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