There's a lot written about what is church and what is good or bad about it. But why do I go? Not the deep theological reasons to academically analyse what it is all about, but why do I get up on a Sunday and go to that building instead of doing something else.
1. Worship. To give my worship to God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I love to sing, but worship is more than that. It's what I want to do, but it's also what God deserves. I tell him, pray to him, sing to him, and show him that I love him as Lord and Saviour of the world and my life. I state the facts (historical and spiritual) of what he's done for me, of course, but I go to declare that 'Here and now you are God, you are great, and you are worth me being here to give you my love.' It's not about me.
2. Fellowship. To be with others of a like mind. There is something special about being with a group and take a stand about what you believe. It's a place to make friends, and share problems, but most of all to be with people and share the experience. In recent years there has been a big growth in people going to live events - concerts, sports matches etc. - and I guess there's a bit of that feeling in being in a good church. The bit about 'being' becomes more important as time goes on. It's not about me.
3. Prayer. Much ink has been used to describe, teach and encourage us on the subject of what is prayer. It is that special moment of being in touch with God, to know his desire and purpose for his people. So being together, praying together, asking for things that are part of his will, telling him things that are on my mind are all part of what is prayer. And it is a good thing, because it is not what I want, but what God wants that is on my heart. It's not about me.
4. Bible teaching. I want to hear a good sermon. Many of us do, I'm sure. But is it because I want to be entertained or because I want to earnestly learn more about the word of God and be challenged by it? There's a danger that I only listen to what I already believe, but that's where the challenge comes. I have to admit that I don't know it all, and I want to learn more. So with an open mind and an open heart, I open my ears to God's word and listen to what he wants to say. It's not about me but it helps me come closer to the great God I adore.
It all helps. Helps me, and it helps others, too. By being church, we come closer together and closer to God. It's not perfect - there's an old joke that if you find the perfect church then you should leave it, as you'll only ruin it. There are lots of problems, but we face them together with the strength and grace of God. I read something recently reminding the reader that if we complain about the church, we are complaining about the bride of Christ. The bridegroom always thinks the bride is wonderful - and that's us!
Us - it's not about me.