I go to church to remind myself that I am sacrificially loved, therefore I can love (Philippians 2:1–18); to reject the bleakness of this world: ‘I consume, therefore, I am consumed’ (Colossians 3:1–10). I go to church because God enjoys it and I enjoy his joy in his people (Ephesians 1:3–10). I go to church because it is the unanticipated centre of what God is doing in our crazy, battered and beautiful world (Ephesians 1:15–22; Revelation 21:1–4).
I go to church.
To get there I pass through the shopping centre on its busiest morning of the week. The sports fields are crowded with players and spectators,the park run friends in their shorts and tees mingle with the lycra-clad cyclists, crowding the cafés. If you know where to look, you can sometimes catch glimpses of the yoga and meditation session in the community room. As I pull out into the dense traffic the world is full of people running errands, visiting open-air markets, piling into Bunnings, travelling to and from visiting family and friends.
Meanwhile, I go to church. Why?
After all, group exercise is good and necessary for physical, social and mental health; meditation can adjust our mood and re-centre our thoughts to a calmer mode; grocery shopping and the unending list of domestic projects need to be tackled sometime in our crowded week; friendships and family commitments are hard to maintain in our separated lives. These things can be good, even necessary. But still I go to church, for a short time of inefficiency, irrelevance and rebellion against our curated, self-improving, iLives.