Why I Go To Church by Garrison Keillor

“Our church sent around a questionnaire a month ago, asking, “Why
do you come to church?” and I still haven’t filled it out. For one thing, I go because I read stories in the newspapers about declining church attendance and I hate to be part of a trend. For another, church is a sanctuary from thinking about myself, my work, my plans for the week, my problems with work, my view of DJT and my PSA and most recent MRI, my lack of exercise, other people’s view of me, myself, and I, and frankly I’m sick of myself and so would you be if you were me. 

My mind drifts during the sermon. The acoustics amid Romanesque splendor are truly lousy – and my thoughts turn to my beautiful wife and our daughter and various friends and relatives, and I pray for them. 

I pray for solace and sustenance in their times of trial and I ask God to surprise them with the gift of unreasonable joy. 

I pray for people caring for parents suffering from dementia and people caring for children who are neurologically complicated. I pray for the whales, the migrating birds, the endangered elephants. 

It’s an hour and a half with no iPhone, no news. Last week is erased, bring on Monday. The babies will grow up to
be impatient with orthodoxy and eager to be other than whatever their parents are, but it was holy water they were splashed with, not Perrier, and who knows but what they might wander back into church one day and appreciate the self-effacement it provides. 

Man does not live by frozen pizza alone. Sunday does not need to be like Saturday or Monday.Turn down the volume, dim the bright flashing lights of ambition, look into your heart, think about the others, one by one. As part of the service, you get to reach around, right, left, forward, back, and say a blessing on them all (“The Peace of God be with you”) and when else do you get to do that? Not in the produce section of the supermarket. 

People need to be blessed. Shouting and sarcasm and insult have not worked, so move on. God loves you- go in peace.”