Seven days without worship makes one weak.
That’s an old pun — week/weak. Let’s pretend for a moment that I wasn’t able to post on my blog for a week or so. Let’s pretend further you all knew why, so it wasn’t a mystery or a concern. Would it make a difference in your daily joy and peace?
It’s one thing to recognize that our human flesh needs reminding that Christ is Lord. It’s another thing to assume the joy of the Lord comes only through certain prescribed rituals overseen by duly appointed leaders. I hope you would miss my posts, but it’s not as if you really need me around to make religion work. That old pun above was actually written: “Seven days without the Lord makes one weak.” I first encountered it attached to an advertisement soliciting participation in a weekday chapel gathering during lunch break on a Baptist college campus. You need to go to church more than one day per week!
This was actively taught in ministry classes. It was presented with well worn arguments that it was in the congregation’s best interest. It was right up there with the constant harassment about tithing. Sure, we all knew that in the Bible, tithing was required of only the farmers and herders, that no one else was expected to give a tithe of their income. But we simply must preach tithing of all income because it’s good for the people as a measure of self-discipline. Or some such patronizing nonsense. It was all a part of the package that the congregation needs management or regulation of their religious life.
I can see that argument if we are in the context of a covenant nation where the majority of folks are doing religion in the flesh. The Bible makes it clear that you have to develop a cultural milieu that makes moral negligence difficult in such cases. If we presume that a congregation of fellow believers is a micro-nation under a covenant of faith, what happens to the voluntary nature of faith? In a voluntary parish community, we might presume there are some family members dragged to church by their parents, but there should be a presumption of a majority of faithful members, something we can’t have in a covenant nation. Yet I can tell you with all seriousness that mainstream Christian churches assume a majority of folks who show up for all kinds of reasons short of genuine faith. They all assume a social setting where church attendance serves other purposes than actual worship and teaching.
Let me caution you against slipping off into those assumptions when it comes to Radix Fidem. We associate in a parish because it’s obedience to Biblical Law, and also because we like it for the sheer joy of sharing faith. There will be nothing in this that offers any other social benefits. If you can’t go outside and joyfully worship in communion with the grass on your lawn, or the birds flitting about, or the wind breathing in your hair, then you really don’t belong in this parish. Nobody is going to ask you to leave, but you have positioned yourself here as an outsider. We aren’t closing you out; you simply haven’t come inside yet.
For Radix Fidem, the covenant assumes you are heart-led, that you have discovered the supremacy of the heart over the intellect, and have made that fateful choice to subject your brain to your convictions. Included in that is the utter necessity that you commune with the natural world as one living thing and a million living entities, all at the same time. If you do not sense reality itself as a person and friend, you need to work on your perception of things. That’s all presumed under the Radix Fidem covenant.
And with all of that, sharing in the reading of my posts, for example, is just icing on the cake. You don’t need me, though you may want to hear from me. And as much as it is possible to do so via the Internet, I love you, too. It would work better if I heard from you directly some way, but the compassion and favor is there waiting for you to claim. And my faith says I should presume the same of you.
So if you aren’t worshiping and celebrating your inclusion in the Kingdom of Heaven every day, it won’t do much good to gather together in any sense. The foundation of what holds us together is that divine fellowship; without that, ain’t nothing happening here.