Kimmo Heikkilä | The Voice of Zion November 2017, Translated from Päivämies, no. 37, 2017 --
A certain friend had heard that question. The questioner had himself been a person confessing faith. What could be behind such a question? Doesn’t going to services seem important anymore? The desire to go to services must have been quite small. Had faith of the heart, faith according to God’s Word, become his personal faith?
“I want to be a believer, but I believe in my own way.”
The spoken word at services vexes one with such a mind.
Lack of desire for services isn’t a new matter. Already in the early days of Christianity, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews reminds of neglecting to gather together, “as the manner of some is.”
Our time is busy. Busyness exists at work, with our studies, at school, and even at home. Services and other congregation activities also use up their own time. There are good hobbies. It feels like there isn’t enough time for everything that we would like to do. Inevitably matters must be prioritized. Do we remember then the importance of hearing God’s Word? What is the most important of all for us?
The experience of being part of a community is a good matter. We know that we aren’t alone. But do we belong to our congregation and go to services only because we want to be together in a community with like-minded individuals? Has it just become a good habit? When I go once a week to listen to the sermon, I’m known as a believer. Then has personal faith been forgotten and in its place come habitual Christianity?
Our home Zion is a fellowship of believers where we are known. Most often we associate the words “home Zion” to the congregation of which we are members. It is mostly this way. But for many it is a smaller group of people, consisting of travel friends living close to each other—since every locality doesn’t have its own congregation.
In our home Zion we can experience a secure sense of community. We want to believe in the same way, we are on the same journey, and we have a united goal.
We aren’t God’s children because we go to services, but rather because we can personally believe our sins forgiven through grace. This is God’s great gift, which we can’t merit ourselves. It suffices that we want to believe. We go to services so that we can hear God’s Word, the message of forgiveness, and be given strength to believe.
We continually need strengthening for our faith, travel provisions, for we are in fact only children of the day. During busy times, a lot of provisions are consumed. It is the same on the road of faith also. In God’s kingdom, the securest community of all on this earth, there are sufficient travel provisions for all. There we have the strong promises of God’s Word.