Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rector's Rambling - 12/9/2012 - attending Church

I recently had an interesting discussion on Twitter about attending Church, and how non-attendance not only harms the non-attender, but also how that non-attendance hurts the Church as well.
Thanks be to God for those who are quite regular in their Church attendance.  But increasingly in our society, and even among some members of St. John’s, attendance at Sunday worship is sporadic at best, and something fit into an otherwise busy schedule if time is available, if at all.
Church attendance is important primarily because our Lord desires it of us.  But it is also important because it is through worship and reception of the Sacrament that one is spiritually nourished.  To absent oneself from the Sacrament is to starve oneself of the grace necessary to live the Christian life (see John 6:54).  Additionally, being absent from Church harms the Body of Christ.  Her worship, singing, and responses are strengthened in number and encourages others who are also present.  Also, a fuller church is more attractive to the visitor than one with emptier pews.  Your presence may be the tipping point for the visitor to return as member.
Church non-attendance becomes habitual.  The more one makes excuses to miss worship, the easier it is to do so.  One falls into the sin of presumption (“God will forgive me for missing this week”) and pride (“I know I am supposed to go to church, but I am the exception to the rule”).
The good news is that, like the Prodigal Son, the Father is always willing to welcome us back when we return to Church (Luke 15:11–32), and make it a priority and good habit!  I know my heart leaps for joy when I see someone in Church who hasn’t been for a while, and God rejoices even more so.
As we prepare in Advent, being present is a major part of being prepared!

~ Fr. Kelly (@StJohnsPriest) tweets about church, family, sport, and life at www.Twitter.com/StJohnsPriest