Friday, September 21, 2012

I Need Thee Every Hour

My son has an app on his mobile device that provides him with meaningless and useless information.  Today's tidbit was:  The average American spends 24 hours per year brushing their teeth.  As he announced that to me and my other son, son #2 replied, "What if we brushed our teeth all one day and got done with it for the whole year?"  At that we all chuckled because everyone knows that things like have to be done regularly, not all at once!  It's illogical to think that dental hygiene is a once for all activity rather than a regularly scheduled disciplined. 

Obviously some people take an illogical approach to spirituality. Call any church and ask what their most attended service is and 4 out of 5 ministers will unhesitatingly reply, "Easter Sunday."  There is a pretty significant percentage of people who go to church once a year, providing there are no weddings or funerals to attend. 

Naturally, I go to church every Sunday.  I'm a minster.  It's in the job description.  Even so, it seems odd to me that some people think they can take care of a year's worth of spirituality in a one hour service.  Don’t those people know that maintaining spiritual health is not a once for all activity but rather a regularly scheduled discipline?  Can a one hour service really cleanse me of all the spiritual plaque that has built up throughout the year?  The very thought forces a sanctimonious chuckle.

Now if you're reading this, I know you're not one of those people.  You too may look despairingly on those others who show up only on Easter.  You give more attention to your spiritual health than a once a year cleaning!  After all, you're reading a spiritual blog.  Good for you.  You are to be commended. 

But before we break out in self-righteous celebration, let's consider another illogical approach to spirituality.

Is it reasonable, or even Biblical, to think that attending church on Sunday, even every Sunday, is sufficient religious discipline to protect me from the spiritual plaque that finds its way into my soul on a daily, if not momentarily, basis?  Could it be that many a person in the pew every Sunday still suffers from severe spiritual decay?   I wonder if I am as silly to think that one hour a week in church is any better than devoting one day a week to teeth-brushing.  That thought does not elicit a chuckle.

The Bible recognizes the value of weekly worship, but it also implies that spiritually healthy people understand that they need more than that.  Jesus himself says, "Take up my cross daily."   The call to discipleship needs to be heard as loudly on Thursday as it is on Sunday.  Paul follows suit when he writes to believers, "Pray continually."  There should not be a conscious hour of our lives when we are not being formed and guided by our relationship with God. 

One hour a year - hardly enough.  One day a week - still leaves us vulnerable.  In fact, could it even be that Christianity is not something that we do, but something that we are - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? 

As the old hymn goes, "I need Thee every hour."  That means all 8,760 of every year.