I’m looking forward to the slower pace of summer, I have to admit. Much of my first few months here felt a bit like getting a drink of water from a fire hose, even with the enforced time off on several days when it was too cold or icy to go out. Now that I’ve been here for almost five months I feel a bit more centered and less harried. There has been time to learn names and routines, to discover things about this church and our new community, to start some long term and short term plans. Now that summer is here, I look forward to more time to plan and dream and visit.
There is one thing I am not looking forward to this summer, however. Many of you have told me about the summer slump here at UP Church. ‘When summer begins, people disappear’ is what I have heard, time and time again. I get it. Vacations are booked, the weather is so beautiful, it’s nice to sleep in… there are as many reasons to miss church as there are people in the world. If your habit is to decrease your church attendance during the summer, I want to challenge you to work on that. I recently read an article in the Christian Research Journal, by Kevin DeYoung and Jason Helopoulos that might help you think about why this is important. They write, ‘The greatest metaphor for the church in the New Testament is the language of the “body.” We are the body of Christ. Yes, this speaks of our dependence on the head, Christ Jesus, but it also proclaims our dependence on one another. This is the argument Paul makes in 1 Corinthians 12: “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ” (1 Cor. 12:12)…Our lives are intertwined and inform one another. We are not meant to be alone. When Christians abstain from church, they are depriving themselves of all the benefits of the body (1 Cor. 12). We could say in a very real way that we have the fullness of the Spirit in all His gifts only when the church meets. The person with hospitality is able to encourage; the individual with the gift of teaching is free to exhort; the sister with the gift of mercy dispenses comfort; and the brother with the gift of faith sets an example. We are shaping one another to the glory of God…Every Christian must participate in the communion of the saints. We belong to one another and need one another.’
We need each other. We need to be in God’s house whenever possible, with others who are a part of the body. Your presence is a gift – to God, to the rest of the body of Christ, and to yourself.
If you are away from Washington on any given Sunday, I invite you to log into upcwash.organd watch worship with us at 9:30. If you are in town, I challenge you to be here.
You will be better for it. We will be better for it.