Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 19:1-20:44 / Hebrews 10:1-18 / Psalm 122:1-9
I love church…I always have loved going to church. My parents faithfully attended church and made sure I was in church every time the doors were open. I still have my cradle roll certificate that was presented to my parents a week after my birth in 1959. I have vivid memories of VBS parades, Sunday School class, a big picture of Jesus behind the pulpit, lively song services and extensive times at the altar.
One Sunday afternoon my Dad took me to shoot my BB gun. After we finished, we drove to the church for the evening service. We had a special singer that night and the service went longer than usual. I was tired so I laid down on the wooden pew, forgetting that my BB’s were in my back pocket. The cap to my BB bottle came off and BB’s started to pour out on the pew and fall to the tiled floor. It happened so fast I couldn’t stop them. Of course this happened when the singer was between songs and it was quiet…until my BB’s startled everyone! I remember the singer saying, “I’ve heard of “Holy Roller” churches but this is a real “Holy Roller” church!
I always thought that if I missed church, I would miss something…either a powerful sermon, a move of the Holy Spirit or a powerful encounter with God. Church was the place where all of those things happened…regularly. For me, Sunday is my most favorite day! David loved to go to the House of the Lord too. He wrote, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 122:1)
This Psalm is one of 15 that people would sing as they would go to the temple for 3 of the annual feasts. They are called the “Psalms of Ascents” because worshippers would ascend up the mount to the elevated Jerusalem. David loved to be in the House of God. When he fled for his life and lived apart from Jerusalem, David’s greatest longing was to return so he could be in The Temple.
That same longing and joy filled the hearts of the Israelites as they traveled to Jerusalem for sacrifice, offering and worship. There was a spirit of expectancy as families journeyed together. Communities and friends meet at Jerusalem with united hearts and purpose.
I discovered at a young age that church was a place where God shows up! He inhabits our praise and worship. Our hearts are challenged from the preaching of The Word. We are edified from the fellowship, prayer and encouragement of our church family. We become part of something bigger than ourselves that is divinely established and empowered by Jesus Himself, “I will build my church”.
It seems to me that not everyone shares the same emotion of joy when it comes to going to the House of The Lord. If everyone did, churches would be full every time the doors were open. We certainly have busy schedules but when attending church is a priority, joy and blessing…fishing, sleeping, shopping or family won’t keep us away.
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!