Why Do I Have to Go to Church?

"Oh, people say, what is that? After all, there is preaching every day, often many times every day, so that we soon grow weary of it. What do we get out of it? All right, go ahead, dear brother, if you don’t want God to speak to you every day at home in your house and in your parish church, then be wise and look for something else: in Trier is our Lord God’s coat, in Aachen are Joseph’s pants and our blessed Lady’s chemise; go there and squander your money, buy indulgence and the pope’s secondhand junk; these are valuable things! You have to go far for these things and spend a lot of money; leave house and home standing idle!

But aren’t we stupid and crazy, yes, blinded and possessed by the devil? There sits the decoy duck in Rome with his bag of tricks, luring to himself the whole world with its money and goods, and all the while anybody can go to baptism, the sacrament, and the pulpit! How highly honored and richly blessed we are to know that God speaks with us and feeds us with his Word, gives us his baptism, the keys [absolution], etc.! But these barbarous, godless people say: What, baptism, sacrament, God’s Word?—Joseph’s pants, that’s what does it!"

Form Martin Luther's very last sermon, 15 February 1546. (HT: Brooke Ventura)