As I sit in my office and type this very moment, the sound of fireworks right outside my window is deafening. In Mustang, Oklahoma, residents are allowed to shoot fireworks. The church parking lot is a popular gathering spot. There are thousands of people outside right now, many hundreds literally outside my door, participating in the annual tradition. The only way to describe what is taking place is that it sounds like a war-zone.
The reason, of course, is the celebration of the 4th of July. Each year, our nation remembers and honors our Independence Day. People celebrate the holiday in a variety of ways, but most generally, it includes fireworks.
I can't help but wonder how many of the thousands right outside my door, as they set their bottle rockets ablaze, even have a thought of Independence Day. I would garner a guess that for most, the reason behind the activity is pretty much swallowed up by the activity itself. I throw no stones toward them, just an observation.
What I find much more tragic, though, is that I also would suppose a similar dynamic happens every Sunday morning in worship services around the world. The reason people gather on the Lord's Day is to worship the Lord and celebrate our freedom from the power of sin. As Christians, we have our spiritual freedom because of the work of Jesus. As Galatians 5:1 says, "For freedom Christ has set us free."
But do we really think about the reason we are at church? I think it is possible -- if not likely -- that so many sing the songs, sit and stand, listen to a preacher, and all the while, have little focus on the real reason behind the activity. Going to church can be nothing more than a tradition and cultural experience (not unlike shooting off fireworks).
Do not let it be true for you that you would go to church, go through the motions, yet forget the reason for which you are there. Remember the sacrifice of Jesus. Consider your great salvation. Then, worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.
And if our church building survives the unbelievable events happening outside at this very moment, it will soon be filled with hundreds of people. The activity of attending church is a start. Remembering why you come, however, is greater still.
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