This is, however, a dangerous trend, because the Christian life depends in many ways on the cultivation of regular habits. In fact, because life is more hectic and more stressful than in times past the importance of weekly worship increases. Martin Luther is often quoted as saying, “I’m too busy today NOT to pray.” Luther rightly recognized that as the pace of our life increases the need for prayer and worship also increases. This is because we can easily forget who we are as Christians. We can easily lose our way and attendance at weekly worship is one of the practices that can keep us on track in our Christian lives.
When we miss weekly worship we leave a spot empty at the family table of our local church. We also we miss out on hearing the latest “family news” and from giving and receiving personal encouragement. When we miss weekly worship we miss an opportunity to be reminded of who we are and the distinct and very different life we are to live. When we miss weekly worship we miss an opportunity to connect with Christ in a special way (especially in the Eucharist). Plus, each time we miss worship makes it easier not to attend the next time.
There are occasions where it is not possible to attend Sunday worship. However, these occasions are very rare, usually limited to sickness or dire emergencies. If we are traveling, there is almost always a church nearby (which may or may not be our particular denomination, but that does not matter), and we simply have to adjust our plans in order to worship. Even if we work some weekends, there are churches now that offer worship services at other times of the day and the week. If we are on a camping trip or stranded somewhere we can by ourselves, with a friend, or our family, enjoy a time of worship through the simple reading of Scripture and prayer.
Is missing a Sunday service the end of the world? Of course not, is missing one of your kid’s or best friend’s important event the end of the world? Probably not, is forgetting to say “I love you” to your spouse on a given day the end of the world? Probably not, yet, there is a danger here that we start to take things for granted, including our relationship with God. When we start thinking along the lines of “what is the minimal commitment I can get away with when it comes to regular worship?” we are in significant danger spiritually.
Yes, the Christian life is about more (much more!) than attendance at weekly services, but this is an important part of that life and one that should we take very seriously, following the advice of Saint Paul, “let us..not neglect meeting together, as is the habit of some” (Hebrews 10:24,25).
PSS: I won’t even even get into the fact that in some Christian traditions the committed are encouraged to attend worship services daily!