Recently, I came across an article written by Mike Leite from GoThereFor.com that spoke about a twicer. A twicer was used to refer to a person who went to church twice a day for morning and evening services. Later, it was used to refer to nominal churchgoers who attended church twice a year, namely on Easter and Christmas. Most recently, it is used to refer to the irregular regulars in church – those who attend church just twice a month on average.
Sundays have always been the highlight of the week for me. I thank God that since young, it has been impressed upon me that Sunday worship should not be missed [except when I am sick; I shouldn’t be passing my germs around]. It is how the disciples of Jesus observe their Sabbath which happens once every week, a rhythm that God has instituted since the beginning of time. This sacred appointment with God and his people must be guarded well so that nothing is allowed to encroach on it.
As I grow in my faith, my convictions about Sunday worship have also grown. Worship is made possible because of the finished work of Christ on the cross so worship is a gift, a means of grace. If we really understand the cost that Jesus paid to open an access for us to enter the holy of holies, then it should be very natural for us to want to come before God in worship, with joy and gratitude in our hearts for all that Christ has done for us. If we are half-hearted about it or if we are a twicer, perhaps in the first place we have not been moved by Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross to pay the penalty of our sins.
I have also come to understand that God loves us, period. He doesn’t love us more when we come more regularly to church and love us less when we don’t. Some people think that if they don’t turn up for church, something bad will happen to them in the course of the coming week. That is absolutely wrong theology! However, when we don’t turn up for worship, we are actually doing ourselves a disfavour, i.e. we are denying ourselves the grace that God wants to extend to us. Although we are a new creation, we still struggle against the desires of our flesh. That is why coming together for worship is seen as a spiritual discipline. If it is a discipline, it means that we will have to make an effort to persevere in it even when we don’t feel like it (we do have our fair share of bad hair days). The discipline of corporate worship will form us and even transform us as all disciplines do. Our hearts will be encouraged, our minds renewed, our souls refreshed, our strength rejuvenated, our convictions made firm, and our faith deepened. These are all ways through which the grace of God reaches out to us even as we engage in corporate worship.
We should therefore be meeting together as often as possible! That was what the early church did: ‘And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad generous hearts, praising God and having favour with all the people.’ (Acts 2.46-47) We may not be able to meet every day because we have to work and study but wouldn’t the people back then have to work and study too? How did they afford the time? The early church has set for us a very good example. Even if we can’t meet every day, surely coming together once a week to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection which also took place on the first day of the week is not too much to ask of us.
Remember what Christ has done for us to make worship possible (past). Remember the grace that we shall experience each time we meet (present). There is also a future motivation because when Christ returns, we will be spending eternity in the presence of our Holy God, worshipping him with the multitudes which comprise of people from different tribes and tongues. When we gather each week for worship on Sundays, we reflect that future reality in the present. We live out the purpose for which we have been saved. According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, man’s chief goal is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever and we are able to achieve both ends each time we gather for worship.
Some of you may say: ‘Oh, I do go to church every Sunday. I may be in True Way two Sundays and in another church the other two Sundays.’ I exhort you to see commitment to a local church as a commitment to the Lord. When we are spoilt for choices in terms of which church to attend, it is all the more crucial that we be committed to a local church lest we turn into consumers who go around churches just to maximise our satisfaction – the church is walking distance from my home, the music lifts me up, the preaching feeds me, the Sunday school sustains my kids’ interests, the ambience is conducive, the people are friendly, there is enough car park lots, etc. Since no single church can fulfil the whole wish list, we will go move around churches to have the best of everything! If we have that mentality, we are acting just like a consumer and that is dangerous. We may be in danger of worshiping ourselves rather than worshiping God. We engage in idolatry without even realising it and the idol consists of another trinity – my needs, my wants, my feelings!
Instead of being consumers, let’s be builders. Instead of asking how I can benefit from coming to this local church, ask how I can play a part in building the lives of the people in this congregation even as I meet them every Sunday. ‘And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.’ (Hebrews 10.24-25) We should not neglect meeting together and when we do meet together, we are to build each other up by encouraging and stirring up one another to love and to do good. On a typical Sunday, we can do the building through the conversations we have amongst ourselves, when we reach out to those who are lost and lonely (yes even in church), when we welcome the newcomers or make effort to get to know those who are unfamiliar and when we serve in the various ministries. See all these as an act of worship that we render to the Lord. Even how we worship during the service itself – the attention we give to the Spirit, the participation, the enthusiasm and the longing for Jesus – can be used by God to encourage the worshippers around us and that too constitutes the building process.
Church, my prayer for you is that you will have the posture of the Psalmist who says: ‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.’ (Psalm 84.1-2) Surely if we have the same attitude as that of the Psalmist, we will never be a twicer!
Rev Lee Kien Seng
July 9, 2017