[Note: This article gives us a good basis for attending church, but it also says something valuable about how parents can guide their children – Editor]
By Emma Lu D
The above title asks a great question. For me, I began to find the answer when I was six years old. I remember the day – a lazy Sabbath day with the summer sun beginning to ride the horizon. The scene opens on my neighbor’s front porch. I recall playing with friends and having a great time. I was straddled across the porch railing pretending, along with my friends, to be cowpokes riding gallant horses in the untamed west.
While in never-never land, I heard my mother call out, “It’s time to come home and get ready for church.” My thought was, “I’ll come later.” Soon her voice called again, and I once more pretended not to hear. The next voice was my father’s. With a deep commanding tone he confirmed, “Your mother has called you home; it is time for church.” Not wanting to obey I called back in a defiant voice, “Do I have to go to church?” There was an uncomfortable time lapse as I waited for his response. “No, you don’t ever have to go to church.” With his final statement he went into the house.
As he left, my friends laughed, but I felt confused and crushed. I really didn’t want to be a “brat” in the eyes of my parents. However, I put on a good show of cheerfulness for my friends. I continued to ride my imaginary stallion and galloped acoss the dry prairie like I was the most fearless of riders. Soon my noble steed slowed to a trot and then to a slow pace coming to a stop. I slid off the porch railing and wandered home as if I were a forgotten child in the dungeon of doom.
The house felt lonely and scary. I rambled about the empty rooms and felt completely dejected. Not liking the feeling, I returned outside and scanned my eyes acoss the field to the church house. As I gazed at the edifice, I felt profoundly left out.
At last the doors opened, announcing the close of the meeting. I returned inside and pretended to be content playing with a game as my parents entered the house. At supper the scent of the pickeled roast beef sandwiches did not quench the questions I wanted to ask. What songs did you sing and who was in the congregation? My mother did not lift her eyes off her plate, but my father, in a stern voice, answered, “If you want to know what took place at the church you should have been there.” End of conversation.
I don’t think I have missed a meeting since that time, except for illness, for myself or a family member. Has it always been easy and wonderful to attend church? No! There have been uncomfortable times; negative experiences. Like nosiy children; irreverent adults; church members who know how to give the cold shoulder; unprepared teachers; members who seem to play the game of “one up”; and the social cliques. The list could go on.
Now, back to the question in the title “Why Does God Want Me To Go To Church?” From my childhood experiences, I learned God wants me to stay connected with gospel principles, not because I have to, but because I need the strength to shy away from the evil of this world that darkens one’s life. I want to enjoy the light and live the glorious gospel of Christ. To become a disciple of Christ, to never again feel lonely, dejected, forgotten, or left out, but to always be striving to gain strength, to keep my covenants, and receive blessings from on high.
I have come to the insightful feeling, God does not want me to go through the trials and tribulation of this life alone. The following scripture has immense meaning to me. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Will you please join me in worship service, not to focus on the negatives, you can find them, but for you, as I have, to come to feel and enjoy the positive influence of Chirst’s teachings and love?
That is why God wants me to go to church.