Those that sat in a sanctuary or some other place of worship yesterday made a choice to be there. They got up, got ready, and came to church. For many it was just like most other mornings, except they went to church instead or to work or school. For some, they fought through something that was heavy upon their hearts like depression or grief or some issue at home or work or school and came to church. For others, they had to fight the kids or their spouse or significant other, but they came too.
Some that came weighed their options – golf or fishing or hiking, or sleeping in , or yard work, or … – but decided in favor of church. Some also pondered these things and decided not to come to church. To be honest, there were some in the other groups who came to church who would not have if the choice was fully theirs.
This all leads to the basic question: why do we go to church? The answer is not tradition or because we are supposed to or because there is nothing else to do. It is not to check off a box or to avoid questions later at the family gathering or to gain some social standing for being a church goer.
When Solomon built the temple and had the ark of the covenant brought up to Jerusalem to be in the temple, something amazing happened. The Most Holy Place filled with a cloud. The temple became filled with the presence of the most high God. He was there in that place.
While it is true that God is everywhere, we find that in church we most often encounter the presence of the living God. It is in the settings of community and in corporate worship that He is present. When we gather to sing and praise His name, to spend time in prayer and in the Word, to confess and be made right with our God, it is then that He is present. To be in the presence of the almighty God, this is why we go to church.
Scripture reference: ! Kings 8: 1, 6, and 10-11