Mindfulness Day 3: Mindfulness in Church Settings
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42, ESV)
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42, ESV)
In our study of being present, we have yet to look at this from a spiritual perspective. Over the next two days, we will seek to discuss how we are to be present and mindful in church settings and in our relationship with Christ. It’s going to be difficult to be active believers if we aren’t physically and mentally present in church activities.
We can come up with so many reasons not to be physically present at church meetings or events. Workday ended later than planned, your kid has a game that night, you haven’t caught up on the latest season of Stranger Things, the big game is on, your neighbors are having a barbeque, you haven’t gone grocery shopping yet this week… and so on. However, to be effective Christians it is essential that we take the first step of actually attending a local church and its associated meetings and events.
In Acts 2 we read that the believers were devoted to teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer. That devotion would certainly include being part of the group that met regularly. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become easier than ever to stay at home instead of attending our local church. As members of the body of Christ, we should meet together, as we are dependent on each other. This means attending church meetings, outreach efforts, conferences, hymn sings, and Bible studies, and continuing to strengthen and encourage the Lord’s people. At times, conflicts will arise, but often they can be a result of poor planning or not having proper priorities. As Mary desired to sit at the feet of the Lord Jesus, it should be our desire and goal to be physically present at church meetings and events.
It is important to also be mentally present. We can be physically in a Bible study but mentally on the lake, at work, watching the game, or pretty much anywhere else. In an increasingly distracted society, the danger of not being there mentally is even greater. From the outside, things appear to be fine because you are present, dressed in your Sunday best and playing the part, but on the inside you are somewhere else.
It should be our goal to put aside these distractions and take time to focus on the meeting at hand. I don’t want to take too hard a stance on this because there is no way all of us are going to be 100% focused all the time. I know that, for myself, I can’t just sit there and pretend like my daughters aren’t spilling things, crying, or chewing on something they shouldn’t during church. There are legitimate reasons we can’t be focused all the time. But while thoughts may pop into our mind involuntarily, we can control what we continue to think about and dwell on. We should try to be as focused as possible during church services.
If we are physically and mentally present at church meetings and events, we will be one step closer to being active believers who contribute to the unity and well-being of our local church. It is essential to our personal growth and the growth of the church in which we gather to be present as often as we can be. It would be my prayer that each one of us make plans to be present more often and encourage our fellow believers to do the same. We owe it to ourselves, our fellow Christians, and the Lord to be present.