If you join us for worship regularly, you are happier than most people. Seriously, you are!
At least that is the conclusion of a recent Pew Research report.
The international survey found that people who regularly attend worship services describe themselves as “happy” and more civically involved than those who do not. This is true regardless of religious preference. Twenty countries were included in the survey.
Of course, this is not new to me! It makes perfect sense! Modern society is driving us to greater and greater isolation from one another and religion acts as a counterbalance. In many ways, it keeps us sane because without it we would surely lose any sense of personal and collective identity.
Coming to worship on Sunday morning reminds you that belong to something beyond yourself. You are part of a community. It is a community of caring. It is a community that generates positive action in the world.
On a deeper level, coming to worship reminds you that you belong to God. You are not here by accident. You are created out of love and are called to live a life of compassion that reflects the one who created you.
In other words, coming to worship reminds you that you matter. You’d be surprised at how many people long for that kind of assurance!
The Lenten Season is built around Jesus’ time in the wilderness before he began his public ministry. The power of this time of year is that Jesus accompanies us in the wilderness times of our lives with hope, healing, and a promise of resurrection.
Still, too many people wander through their wilderness times completely unaware of this divine companion. They think that they are all alone. They think the wilderness is never-ending. They think it is all up to them. They think things will always be this way.
Worship is an oasis in that kind of wilderness. Here there is a wellspring of grace, wholeness and hope to replenish one’s spirit, provide meaning to one’s week, and the framework for building a purposeful life. In such an environment of restoration, it is hard to see how anyone wouldn’t feel happier!
As valuable as the pew research study is, it is really nothing new. People of faith have known the value of worship for thousands of years. Connecting to both an active community and a compassionate, divine presence can only result in a more fulfilling life.
See you in church,