Most of us go to church every Sunday. We stand, we kneel, we say the Our Father and leave. It has almost become a meaningless routine. We forget the true importance and reason for going to church. In the Old and New Testaments, there are prominent examples that reaffirm the true importance of the church in our temporary and eternal lives.
Old Testament: Noah’s Ark The ark in this infamous story is a clear example of the church. “…Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive” (Genesis 7:23). The ark was their protection and shield against all the turmoil and destruction that was occurring on the outside. The church in the same way protects its children (almost like a mother; that’s why we call our church our mother) from the negativity and immorality outside of it. We see this happen through our church services and servants which guide us by giving us important advice and morals, our priests that steer our spiritual lives and by our sacraments that merge us deeper into the faith. All these things equip us against the evil one. All those who remained alive were in the ark and everyone outside of the ark died. That could also be interpreted as only those who go to church and value it can receive salvation and in the same way remain alive, eternally. However, this does not mean that just by going to church we are saved, but more that to be saved, you must go to church; recall that though Ham, Noah’s son, was in the ark, he was cursed after mocking his father. Us similarly need to be of good deeds and go to church for salvation.
New Testament: Being Rooted Can a relationship between two people be sustained without communication and constant reassurance of the other’s presence? Likewise, can we overcome doubts and uncertainties about our faith and God without constantly being in touch with Him? The church is a place where God’s voice and presence is projected through many intermediaries like priests, servants, and
even just by hearing the readings during liturgies. “ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?… So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans
10: 14,17). As St. Paul stated in his letter, faith comes by hearing the word of God, and one cannot hear without a preacher. A preacher in our time is equivalent to our priests and servants, who deliver to us the word of God. By constantly going to church, we are always in touch with the word of God, rooting us in our faith deeper and deeper. God equipped those in service with the tools to help us overcome spiritual difficulties. We will not be able to find anyone else with those tools other than the ones chosen by Him to serve His body (His Church). “ So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
As we celebrate 25 years to the existence of our beloved church, let us not forget the true impact of our church in our lives, how it protects us from the chaos that the world can be at times and how it always strengthens us in our faith by providing us with knowledgeable people to guide us in our times of doubt. May God always preserve and keep our church strong forever until the end of days