Over the last few months due to ill health and the need to shield, I have been unable to attend worship weekly at St Mary’s. Now whilst it is most certainly true that God is not confirmed to bricks and mortar within church walls and it is perfectly possible to worship and pray anywhere and anytime, there is something uniquely important, necessary even and nourishing in community worship and in celebration of sharing bread and wine in the Eucharist, to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus and God’s good grace, at our Sunday Mass.
There is solid guidance on this. King David, the psalmist said:
I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122, v1)
And Jesus said in Matthew 18, v20: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
But for many it can be challenging. People say: Sunday is a day of rest; a day to take time out from the hectic days of the week beforehand; to spend time with family and friends. Well yes, it is and can be all of these things. It is good to have a day set apart from the busyness of our lives throughout the week. However, making time for God on Sunday is also a means of personal renewal, time to refocus, of reconnection not just with God but also with those in our community, of putting our week past and ahead in context, of laying bare and before God our happiness, our anxiety, our hopes and fears for what is going to happen in the days to come.
Worship can be all manner of things depending on how you feel when you come together in church at our Parish services. We are so changeable, and understandably so, given all the things that have happened to us over the past two years. But the remarkable thing is that whether we are low or upbeat, sad or content, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Our God is dependable and true and ready to accept us in whatever state we find ourselves, quiet as we listen to the readings and prayers, doubting and uncertain if all we are hearing can possibly true, mouthing our prayers in the earnest hope and trust that they will be answered, in ways we may never expect or understand. God welcomes us all into his church; there is no membership criteria, “Sunday best” or goody-two-shoes, only an open heart and willingness to hear what God has to offer us and respond.
So yes, whilst I say my prayers and read the bible on my own, I do miss out if I don’t make church on Sunday. My loss truly.
There is a lot going on in March and in the lead up to Easter. We call it Lent but its just as much about reflection as it is about giving up things. Why not come and explore worship together at St Mary’s or any of our Parish churches. You will always receive a warm hello and a friendly smile. And God will be there.