Contrary to any traditional idea of Sabbath-keeping, I went to the grocery store on the way home from church. As is usual, the place was jammed. Sunday now seems to be the default day for grocery shopping. As I stood in the line-up for the cashier, the man behind me struck up a conversation with the woman in the next line-up over. Following an initial greeting the conversation went like this:
He: You eat all that food you get fat, hahahaha. [I internally cringe at this degradation of food and its necessity for life.]
She: You gotta eat. [I internally cheer for this statement of the necessity and implied goodness of food.]
There was then some chat about some football game that seems to be happening today.
She: I’m starved, I went to church and I’m on my way home. [Internal voice: Yay! another church to grocery store person!]
He: You! Church! You went to church?!?!
She: Yeah, I go to church when I’m all right.
He: Wow, its been a long time since I been to church. I go to church in my house.
He: Yeah, I wake up and I thank God for life. I go to church in my house, that’s what I do.
She: Yeah, that’s all you need.
Oh how I longed to turn around and let loose upon the bad theology demonstrated in this conversation. I refrained from a sermon in No Frills, but you, dear reader, are about to hear about it.
“I go to church when I’m all right.” Nope. Properly, one goes to church because one is NOT all right. I go to church to get right, not to show I’m all right. Church isn’t a check in with God to say “See I’m all right today,” it is a place to go to ask God to help you become all right today.
“I go to church in my house.” “Yeah, that’s all you need.” Nope. Whatever this religion is, it isn’t biblical Christianity. One cannot be a Christian alone. I go out of my house to church to reconnect with other people, fellow members of Christ’s body, and to be reminded, because I need reminding, that I cannot be a Christian alone. It isn’t all about me and God in my house, however important that may be. It is also about being a member of God’s family, the Body of Christ, the communion of saints that extends through space and through time. You and I cannot be Christians alone.