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When you stop to think about it, there’s a lot of repetition in our lives. We tend to do the same things over and over again, and often at the same times of the day or on the same days of the week.
Sometimes it’s the big things in our lives, like going to the sa me vacation destination every summer. Sometimes its things like never missing CSI or American Idol on TV every week. And sometimes it’s just the little things, like the three packs of Equal you put in our cup of coffee. Always three packs.
Repetition is a way to order our lives and it brings comfort and security. But it can also turn into routine and routines can put us in a rut. As a baseball coach, I know that repetition is important to becoming a better player. Players repeat swing after swing, hundreds of them, in the batting cage to become a better hitter.
But the challenge is to not let the repetition become routine. When anything that we repeat a lot becomes routine, then we stop thinking and just go through the motions. Instead of being mindful, we become mindless. That can happen to anything that’s a repetition in our lives, but it is especially important for Christians that the repetitions of regular church attendance not turn into a routine that loses its true purpose and meaning.
And “church as a routine” can sneak up on you before you ever realize it. After all, Christians usually attend the same church every week, go at the same service time, sit in the same pews, sing some of their usual favorite hymns, hear the same preacher, and take the same communion. Now that’s repetition friends. But it’s a travesty to the whole purpose of going to church when it becomes a routine – just going through the motions.
The truth of church is that it’s really about God’s revelation in the world today, which is never the same, but always new, always different, always changing. And even though we may surround church with a lot of repetition, our hearts and minds must always be aware of and open to God doing new things right in the midst of our everyday repetitive lives.
(Bob Silvanik is the pastor of Dry Ridge Christian Church. He can be reached at 823-1303 or by e-mail at email@example.com)