Have you ever heard the phrase “Meeting my maker?”
It’s often used to describe an end-of-life scenario, describing the moment we finally meet God face to face. As in “I’d better get my act together before I meet my Maker.”
Do we really have to wait that long?
I don’t think so. If we know God and have a personal relationship with him, meeting our Maker is an everyday occurrence. Still, this phrase has been on my mind lately as I ponder the role of the church in that relationship.
Until last year, I could honestly say I spent my entire life going to church. I learned early on that my weeks went more smoothly if I started them on a pew beside my family at church. Through those doors, I found focus and forgiveness, along with laughter and encouragement from the people who walked alongside us as we raised our children. People who propped us up when we were weak and helped carry the load, no matter what that proved to be through the years.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020 and churches were locked across the country, we were forced to dig much deeper. To invest in an individual relationship, rather than depending on scheduled worship times or activities to draw us closer to God.
For a while, the temporary closures brought a brief sense of relief, as if we’d been given permission to break the lifelong cycle of being too busy. All guilt was removed as we found ways to worship online while still wearing our pajamas. We assumed the forced break would only last a couple of weeks.
Yet, here we are, more than a year later, and many smaller church buildings now have “For Sale” signs in the yard. Attendance has dropped drastically, and many doors are still locked, and churches have been forced to lay off ministers or staff members.
I must admit. I’ve missed it. Still, I’ve gotten a bit lazy in my church attendance. I reasoned that with limited seating available, I should give up my seat for someone else. With so many rules, restrictions, and masks, it wouldn’t feel like church, or so I told myself.
Forsake not the assembly. Isn’t that what God said in Hebrews, Chapter 10? There’s a reason for that. He knows we’re much stronger together than apart.
I think it’s time. To make the effort. To show up for others. To serve. To hug. To lose myself in worship.
Seems to me that my Maker is beckoning me to come back to meet him where we first met.
Through those beautiful, welcoming doors at church.