The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that in the U.S. 88% believe in God, 82% believe religion is important in one’s life, and 75% pray at least once a week, but only 39% attend a religious service at least once a week.
I’ve been asking myself, “is church relevant to me?” The answer is yes. So this leads to the more important question, “how is church relevant to me?”
If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I often like to start with a “short answer”. The short answer here, is that church brings structure to my spiritual journey.
My religion is my way of life and even my health care system and church is an integral part of my entire experience.
As a child, I regularly attended Sunday School in my church. Here I learned about the Bible. I learned the moral standards found in the Ten Commandments and Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. I learned about the people in the Bible and how they learned to know God, to obey God, to trust God, and to worship God. In a way, the Bible presents an account of a people’s spiritual journey. I learned about Jesus’ own experience, his virgin birth, his ministry, his teachings, his healing work, and his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. And I don’t think I would have learned all of this by attending church just once in a while.
Early in adulthood I became a member of the local Christian Science church in my community where I had a new job. And I soon became a Sunday School teacher. This required me to learn these same lessons clearly enough to instruct children about them. As a result I quickly became an avid student of the Bible, studying the weekly Christian Science Bible Lessons prepared by my worldwide church for use in daily Bible study.
The Christian Science Church also provides the weekly Christian Science Sentinel and the monthly Christian Science Journal, with inspiring articles where writers share how Christian Science is helping them in their spiritual journey. Church provides avenues for spiritual growth on a regular basis – daily, weekly, and monthly.
In addition to Sunday morning worship services and Sunday School, my church also holds mid-week services called testimony meetings where people share how Christian Science has helped them with something in their daily life. We learn from each other.
Other avenues in church have helped me learn how to pray, how to heal, how to be healed, how to love, and how to feel God’s love.
I want to add one more thing here. Church is also relevant to me because it also is about worshipping God. Worship is important. Jesus once said, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:8) and Psalm 29:2 says, “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” There is something very right about worshipping God.
For me, church is very relevant!