Church is Boring
Circa 33 A.D.
On Thursday, everything was fine. In fact, maybe it was about to be great. Triumphant. World-changing.
On Friday, everything went wrong. The King was dead. The earth was dark. Hope was lost.
On Saturday, everything was weeping. What now? Where did it all go wrong? How was I so duped?
On Sunday, everything changed. Where is the body? Has he truly risen from the dead? What does that mean? He is alive!
Thus began an ~2,000 year tradition of Christians gathering on Sundays to celebrate the day on which everything changed. The early church borrowed from the Jewish synagogue gatherings with which they were already familiar, through which they were accustomed to communally worshipping God. These synagogues emerged among the Jews during their days of exile, when the temple was rubble, when they were scattered to foreign nations, when they needed one another more than ever. They sang psalms together, they read the scripture together, they learned together. Thus became the template that Christians followed when they gathered together as the Church.
In 33 A.D. going to church wasn’t an obligation. It wasn’t a cultural litmus test for how “good” of a person you were. It wasn’t something you did to get right with God. These things emerged in certain peoples’ consciousness centuries down the line for all the wrong reasons.
No, in 33 A.D., people had no concept of “going to church”. Instead, they gathered on the day on which Jesus rose to remember what happened that one fateful Sunday, to collectively celebrate this gift to the world, and to ponder the implications of it all. They were people who lived in persecution. The very act of baptism was an act of subversion to both the imperial kingdom of Caesar as well as the iron grip of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Getting baptized was not for the faint of heart or the lukewarm. There was simply too much risk, too much at stake. And then to go preach this good news openly throughout the week was essentially akin to standing alone before the row of tanks bearing down on Tiananmen Square.
Imagine the toll that this took on a believer in 33 A.D.
Then, imagine how great their joy on Sunday when they gathered with others who had experienced similar weeks as you. But on Sunday none of that matters any more. On Sunday you celebrate. You remember His words. You share stories with one another about the great things you have seen God do in your lives and your city. And you rejoice. You take a deep breath. The week ahead will be long and tumultuous and fraught with trials. You may not survive to see the next Sunday. So on Sunday, you count it all joy, because you remember that there is something far (far, far, far, far) greater than any trial in this life feeding your drive to press on.
It’s Sunday again. The year 2019. Anywheresville, USA. Someone is waking up, considering whether or not to go to church this week. Thinking to themselves, “Why bother? What’s the point? It’s so boring.”
And they’re right. It is so boring. If you don’t NEED Sunday, if the other people at church don’t NEED Sunday, then what’s the point?
Then again, if your week has been spent spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally pouring yourself out on account of what happened that one fateful Sunday 2,000 years ago, where else would you rather be than celebrating what occurred that day with other people who are pouring themselves out too?