by Dan Seagren
Posted: November 19, 2017
Comparing spiritual and bodily nutrition—food for thought at Thanksgiving…
Someone said it was nonsense to go to church every Sunday; offering the analogy that his wife had cooked thousands of meals and he couldn't recall a single one. His friend responded quietly: "I've been married for 30 years now and my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"
I suppose most of us know that if we don't eat our under-nourishment will be our doom. So is there a correlation with church attendance? Of course. There are many church members and visitors who attend church on holidays like Christmas and Easter., plus the occasional wedding and funeral.
Even so, why go so often? Other than for spiritual nourishment, there is also fellowship involved, either at church or in a home or restaurant. It sets a good example for the rest of the family. It also stimulates giving in the collection, assessing those who need assistance in a variety of ways that would otherwise remain hidden. The self-discipline can be very beneficial, especially when there is the temptation to remain at home, cut the grass, pamper a stuffy nose, wash the car or spend a money at the ball game (which can be much more than you might drop in the collection plate!)..
But there is more. You can evaluate the temperature (too hot or cold), grumble inwardly when the organ (or praise band) gets too loud, critique the cleanliness and complement the custodian or complain to the church board. You can share a meal with neighbors and visitors and make suggestions for the next event. Furthermore, if you attend regularly, you may want to get involved in a Bible Study group or volunteer to help in some way. I did this in the nursery (I personally retired at 68 and volunteered for our church nurser,y which was unbelievably rewarding for a grandfather with no grandchildren of our own nearby). And oh those sermons, not one but many, may be too short or too long, but oh the discussions for your Sunday dinner!.
Spirituality often is a growing thing, whether slow and steady or in spurts. But just as you could not survive if you only ate at family gatherings on the holidays, a steady practice of spiritual formation is far more nutritious than starving yourself most of the year.
OK, not all of my observations may not be theologically sound but give it a little thought, OK?
Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.• E-mail the author (su.nergaesnad@brabnad*) • Author's website (personal or primary**)
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