Well, perhaps I should say that God doesn’t only want you to go to church. More importantly, God wants you to want to go to church. Just a moment spent contemplating those two ideas will reveal just how different they are in actuality.

In my occasional series on The Ten Commandments, I have already covered the third: Keep Holy the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day. In a seven day week there are 168 hours for us to fill. Assuming that we sleep for approximately 49 of those, or seven hours of sleep per day, that leaves 119 for us to fill.

Say we work at a full-time job, requiring 40 hours there each week, and another hour per day in travel to and from work. That knocks us down to 72 hours for ourselves. Free from the need to sleep, free from the necessity of work, we have approximately 72 hours that are ours to spend as we choose.

Those with children know how much of that time is spent feeding, clothing, teaching, chaufering, entertaining the kiddies.

But even with all that, and knowing that we do not all have small children, we have dozens of hours in each week that go to ourselves. Television, computers, schooling, music, hobbies, working out, visiting friends and relatives, shopping. There are many ways that we fill these hours.

The fact is, God is only asking one hour per week from you. One little, tiny, short hour for you to spend in his house.

Oh sure, maybe that means that you need to get ready, dressed, and drive to and from his house. So maybe with that crush of added burden you would be giving him two of your hours. Is that really too much to ask of you? Is that too much to ask of you to want to give him?

I mean, after all, this is the Lord God, the One who created the earth on which you live. The One made you in His image so that you could rise above all of the other creatures who have ever walked on this planet and take dominion over it. The One who sent you His only Son, Jesus Christ, to live and die for you, so that you could be forever saved from the fate that you actually deserve.

Day to day, we all have quiet, reflective moments. Driving in our cars, or riding the bus or train to and from work. Early in the morning as we awake and enjoy a cup of coffee, jump in the shower, get ourselves dressed. Late at night, as we lay ourselves down in our beds to sleep.

It is in these moments that we often fill with music or television news that we can perhaps find another few for Him, to pray to Him for the cause of our lives and those of our loved ones.

It doesn’t take long. It’s not really any sacrifice at all, in fact. Same with that hour or so each week. The time isn’t the sacrifice, not really. It’s the making that time mean something that is difficult. It’s the wanting to go to church that is difficult for many.

That is what God really wants from you in the end, for you to want to go to church, to want to come into His house, to want to worship him in community and fellowship. One hour to pray, sing, reflect, participate in his Sacraments.

 I hope that those of you who have been away from the Church consider making a personal comeback this Christmas season. He wants you to come back. More importantly, he wants you to want to come back. It’s really just silly human pride keeping you away in the end.

The sooner you realize that, wake up and right your ship, the sooner you will find your way back. We look forward to welcoming you, for you are always welcome in God’s house.

Hear it in your head, feel it in your heart. As Bono sang at the end of U2’s classic ‘A Sort of Homecoming’: “…tonight, at last, I am coming home. I am coming home.”