I remember more about the circumstances under which I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig than I do about the book itself. It was during Peace Corps training in coastal Ecuador, under a tin roof and mosquito net.
I think about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and I see that tin roof.
I wrote down a quote that stuck with me, though. “But if you’re a sloppy thinker six days a week and you really try to be sharp on the seventh, then maybe the next six days aren’t going to be so sloppy as the preceding six.”
He wasn’t talking about church. He was talking about motorcycle maintenance, breaking his bike down and cleaning it once a week (if my fuzzy memory is right). But I applied it to going to church.
I wasn’t going to church at the time. The reasons aren’t important now,. But I knew God expected more of me than I was offering Him in my life. So the quote stuck with me.
We don’t go to church because we are perfect. We go to church because we aren’t. We go to church to get encouragement to go out into a corrupted world and live lives that glorify God. We go to church to praise God and worship Him and remind ourselves why we are called to be different. We go to church to remind ourselves of Jesus’ sacrifice, to remember it “until He comes”.
We go to church because it is hard, even impossible, to be the church alone.
If we are tempted to skip church services because of sin in our lives, it isn’t because God doesn’t want to see us there. It’s because we don’t want to face our need for change.
Ironically, it is when we most need God that we are most inclined to avoid Him.
But we must let the teaching and the worship we encounter there touch our minds and hearts. Sitting in a pew isn’t worship. We worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). If we aren’t worshipping in spirit, and taking God’s will and word to heart, we might as well be sitting in front of the TV.
I encourage you to really try to “be a sharp thinker” when you attend worship services this week. Try to make it the day that will positively affect the rest of your week.
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (NASB)