Why do we “go to church” on Sunday?
There are many reasons which can be given. Alternatively, one could say the question is all wrong, since as the New Testament tells us, we don’t go to church, we are the Church – wherever we Christians go, there is the Church. Being the Church is something which is a natural result of being Christian. The building we go to is not “the Church” but the sacred place where we assemble in order to experience the kingdom of God in the Church which is the Body of Christ, namely, the assembly of believers.
That being said, still we do assemble together for the purpose of doing God’s work on earth. We assemble to incarnate the Kingdom of Heaven in our midst. Demetrios S. Katos offers another thought about why we assemble as Christians to constitute the Church:
“This is why the Church assembles weekly in the Eucharist, not merely to offer petitions, but to remind us that communion with God requires sacrifice. Each Sunday we remember all that the Lord has done for us – ‘the cross, the tomb, the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into heaven, the enthronement at the right hand of the Father, and the second, glorious coming’ – and we are moved to eagerly offer everything we have in return, proclaiming, ‘Thine own of thine own we offer unto you.’” (Thinking Through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars, pp 64-65)
The Liturgy itself is an offering to God – of our hearts, of our lives, of our thanksgiving. The Liturgy is Eucharistic which means it is is our thanksgiving to God. Sts Barsanuphius & John instruct us in what we need in order to be Christian, to be the Church:
“Labor to acquire thanksgiving toward God for everything and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and then you will find peace.” (Guidance Toward Spiritual Life, p 94)