I’ve heard people express a concern about being in church too much. “You expect me there every time the doors are open?” Well, no, but do the math. There are 168 hours in a week. Depending on your church we are talking a maximum of what? Maybe three or four hours a week? When did this become a sign of fanaticism?
Such thinking is all wrong. The criteria was never the number of services or the hours spent together. It’s just about being together. It’s about relationships.
People who love one another don’t think in terms of obligation. They think in terms of the other. They enjoy being together and when one of them occasionally has a “miss” it’s not a big deal. The other knows there is a good reason for it.
In December of 1953 C. S. Lewis received a note from Mary Willis Shelburne in which she confesses to having missed church due to a sinus condition. Evidently being absent bothered her. In his January 1, 1954 response Lewis encouraged Ms. Shelburne with these words,
“He who took care lest the 5000 should ‘faint’ going home on an empty stomach may be trusted to know when we need bed even more than Mass.”1
Someone who thinks they need to be in church every time the doors are open is similar to someone who thinks they never need to be in church. Both confuse relationships with rules.
“In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.'”– Mark 8:1-3
1. Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 401