GUIZERIX: Complacency in worship leads to weakening of spirit

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, March 30, 2022

I remember the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, as it relates to my faith journey.

After participating in the Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults classes at our church in Oxford for months, I was just a few short weeks away from being confirmed in the Church. Then, the world came to a screeching halt. At that time, and in the months that followed, I felt in my spirit a hunger for God’s Word, a desire to commune with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

It was a need that went unfulfilled for far too long.

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During the course of the worst of the pandemic, churches made great outreach efforts, from drive-thru Communion to outdoor services and, most popularly, live-streaming. I vividly remember Easter 2019, which we spent in Vicksburg with my in-laws. Dressed in our Easter best, we pulled dining room chairs around the family computer and attended virtual Mass.

In that time, and the months that followed until it was deemed safe to return to in-person service, virtual church services provided a much-needed outlet for hurting, isolated people to find solace in the arms of the Lord. There’s no doubt in my mind that virtual services reached more people than in-person church gatherings could in “normal” times.

However, it seems that now, we as Christians have become complacent.

Why go to church and fiddle with dressing up, when you can watch the service at home in your pajamas while sipping your morning coffee and scrolling on your smartphone? Why should we engage in fellowship with members of our congregation, when we can get the same Jesus from the comfort of our homes? Who needs Sunday School classes when you can Google devotionals that tell you exactly what you want to hear?

The answer to these questions can be found in Scripture.

Hebrews 10:25 is the verse that comes to mind in regards to regular attendance of worship services. We’re called as Christians to “not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

As more churches in our area return to in-person services, we (myself included) need to reflect on our habits. Have we forsaken the opportunity to gather at church, in favor of half-watching services in our living rooms? Are we hesitant to resume participation in additional service opportunities within our places of worship, not out of health concerns but out of laziness?

Obviously, there are the sick, shut-in and otherwise incapable people for whom televised/live-streamed services are the best option to participate in worship. That’s another matter entirely, and they should be commended for doing what they can to nourish their faith.

But those believers who are able to attend church should do so at every opportunity.

God sent His son to earth to die for our sins — the very least we can do for Him is to devote an hour or two each week to spending time in His presence.