Why do Pastors want you to go to Church every Sunday? We usually talk about our great need for forgiveness, about the edible nature of worship and sacrament–that is, liturgy and the Eucharist are like a meal: we may not remember every lunch, but we still need it an eat it every day. We talk about the command of the Lord to remember the Sabbath day, the Apostolic command to not neglect meeting together, and all of that.
You do not often hear another reason. Truth is, your Pastor misses you. You are friends, and when you only come every so often, we miss seeing you. And not just your Pastor. The people who share your pew or row, the ones who sit in front or behind you, they miss you too. Even if they never talk to you, they know who you are and that you are not here. The Church is Body of Christ, and if the little finger goes AWOL, we miss it.
If you have no sins to confess or be forgiven, if you are spiritually mature and strong, if you know all things, if you have no need for this meal–even if all these things are true, come to Divine Service for the rest of us. We miss you.
“And if you ask, ‘Who is Amos or Abdias, or what is the number of the Prophets or Apostles?’ they cannot even open their mouths. But with regard to the horses or charioteers, they can compose a discourse more clever than the sophists or rhetors.” (St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of St. John, LVIII).
I referenced this in my sermon on Sunday, Within the Octave of All Saint’s Day. I followed with the question, “Can you name the Twelve Tribes of Israel? Can you name the nine of the Cubs who won the World Series? Or 12 of the actors in your favorite movie?”
Pastors preach to themselves. Yes, I can name the 12 tribes…at least on a good day (frankly it is something I’ve been refreshing myself on as I read Genesis this month), but we still preach to ourselves. So we all look to our weaknesses and strengths. Knowing the Scriptures is pretty basic. Learning who the saints are is good.
In my vocation, I know the Scriptures, have a vocational, and avocational interest in the Saints, but I don’t remember and know Hebrew like I once did or should. So that’s my intent. I’m going back to basics, and by next year hope to be reading Hebrew at least as well as I do Greek, maybe better.
The blog went missing when I changed the hosting account I have for another project (marching band photography: Chris Hall Photography Who knew, right? This weekend I’ll have my first major event to photograph, but for now it’s just Union High School’s Bands Program).
I did some creative interneting and it’s back. I’m missing posts from the last 2 or 3 years, which would be a catastrophe if this were a proper blog. In truth, it’s only a dozen or so posts gone, if that.
For the ten of you who are still reading, don’t hyperventilate–posts may be just as infrequent now as they ever were. Who knows?