We Go to Worship

A fitting Saturday night thought:

“We do not go to Sabbath meetings to be entertained or even solely to be instructed. We go to worship the Lord. It is an individual responsibility, and regardless of what is said from the pulpit, if one wishes to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth, he may do so by attending his meetings, partaking of the sacrament, and contemplating the beauties of the gospel. If the service [meeting] is a failure to you, you have failed. No one can worship for you; you must do your own waiting upon the Lord.”

-President Spencer W. Kimball, “The Sabbath—A Delight,” Ensign, Jan. 1978, 4–5.

I have learned from sad experience that Sabbath meetings without Sabbath worship quickly leads to drudgery. This is a costly mistake. Because our Sunday meetings are so fundamental to who we are and what we do as members of the Church, dissatisfaction with them quickly starts to chip away at our testimonies. True worship is conscious and active and yields blessings that passive church attendance never can. There are may reasons we fail to truly worship on the Sabbath. Whatever they may be, this error is likely the cause of the ambivalence many feel toward Church meetings. 

I'll mention one especially subtle saboteur of Sabbath worship that I've noticed in recent years: callings that involve a lot of pressure or require high performance on Sundays can easily distract us from worship. As we focus on magnifying our calling, which we know is important, we risk losing balance (See Mosiah 4:27). Examples include a teacher preparing a lesson during sacrament meeting, a relief society president who organizes visiting teaching during Sunday School, or a bishop who always spends the sacrament analyzing how the young men distribute the bread and water.  

I know what you're thinking: We should do away with those demanding callings! Of course that won't work for obvious reasons. Some pressure and high performance is necessary. But those in such callings ought to take care to manage their time and their thoughts such that Sunday meetings can be free for worship,

I realized how important this is when about a year into my calling as a counselor in the bishopric, I realized I dreaded going to church. I knew this was a problem, and as I searched for the cause, I saw that I was completely caught up in the administrative minutia of my calling. Sunday after Sunday my thoughts were consumed by callings we needed to fill, business we needed to conduct, events we needed to plan... the list went on and on. Each Sunday I was spending all my mental capital on the details of my calling, and left behind the foundation for all of it: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  

While it wasn't all that hard to see the problem, this is not a simple fix. Putting forth that conscious effort to worship each Sunday remains a weekly battle. But the best days at Church are the ones when I truly remember why I am there.