1 Corinthians 1:1-9
I was talking with a friend who goes to an Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. He grew up a Baptist and has respect for that tradition, but he’s long been an Episcopalian and a very serious one. “I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t go to church, and especially Episcopal churches like mine and yours,” he said to me. “The words are beautiful, the music is beautiful; it’s the time each week I connect with God.”
“Well,” I responded, “it’s easier for me to list the reasons people don’t come to church than the reasons they do.” And I quickly gave him a dozen “don’t come to church reasons” off the top of my head: the competition of other activities, families where one parent doesn’t want to go, families where the kids are with their other parent every other weekend, the negative image churches and religion have in the media, bad experiences with churches in the past . . . and so forth. Really, when you think of all these reasons, that anyone comes to church here at Holy Cross on a Sunday morning, that we manage to keep this congregation alive and vital, is a miracle, given all the forces ranged against us.
It set me thinking, this conversation with my friend, about why I myself come to church; why even after I retire and am not paid to come, and have to go to a church that won’t be as close to what I personally love as this one is – why even then I will go to church every Sunday, pretty much no matter what. And the answer, for me as I thought about it, is really very simple: I come to be with Jesus. I’m like those fishermen in the gospel reading this morning, to whom Jesus said, “Follow me.” It’s as simple as that. I long ago made the commitment, really out of desperation, to follow Jesus, to try to be with him.