A few people gave me some light pushback about the title of my last post. They’re pretty much right. Even if your child shows uncanny skill and aptitude for a particular extracurricular activity, they (and you) still need to be in church, because thankfully, being good at something and being a Christian aren’t mutually exclusive. Which is pretty much what I meant to say, anyway, that church is more important.
For those of you who can’t seem to find a way around giving up Sunday mornings to whatever distraction seems so important, well, if you try a little bit, you might find a way to get yourselves there anyway. There are churches and parishes in practically any metro area that hold services and Masses on Saturday evening or later in the day on Sunday. Hopefully it’s not some stupid contemporary pop worship service – keep scrolling if it is and find a service that’s more faithful to true Christian worship. If a particular church isn’t your first choice, try sucking it up and going anyway. They probably love Jesus there, too, and I’m sure they’d love to have a few more butts in their pews.
If you’re rooted in a free-to-low church tradition, this might be a bit harder for you, and it’s probably time for you to start moving up in the liturgical world a little bit, anyway. But if you insist on staying low, you might find a Baptist church somewhere that still does a Sunday evening service. The problem with these places is that they tend to be full of people who think you should be in church both Sunday morning and Sunday night, and they will probably judge you on the spot, and frighten you with rude expressions. I know this from 24 years of personal Baptist experience.
Basically, you need to quit your whining and just figure it out like an adult.
Or maybe, this. I have a sneaking suspicion that, if you’re still giving me and the rest of the world excuses about why you can’t go to church, you don’t really want to go in the first place, and you’re just jumping at every possible excuse as it arises to get yourself out of it. I get it. I tried the same thing when I was a kid and didn’t want to go back to my massive, self-worshiping McCongregation on Sunday night after being subjected to 800 repetitions of “Shout to the Lord” that very morning. And, I confess, I’ve tried it more recently, too.
If this is you, and you know who you are, you should probably stop calling yourself a Christian, since you don’t see the value in being a part of Christ’s church. I’m not saying you’re not “saved,” or something. God will deal with your heart as he deems fit, and that part’s between you and he.
But no, seriously, you might not really want to be a Christian, anyway, so it might be an appropriate move.
Nowhere is the Church more itself than in liturgy. That’s when we’re called out of our little places in the world into visible fellowship with God’s covenant people. That’s when we hear God’s Word proclaimed. That’s when we partake in the Meal that Jesus himself gave us. And that’s when we’re sent back out, renewed and strengthened, into the mission field of our regular lives. Baseball doesn’t do this. Neither does gymnastics. Neither does the golf course. No, you can’t worship God anywhere, as professing Christians these days love to say, at least not in the corporate sense. If you don’t want to be a part of liturgy somewhere, you’re trying to get out of the most important part of the Christian life. So maybe just renounce your faith, and take up tennis or something. Catch up on your sleep. Have a leisurely morning of coffee and crossword.Now, I hope and pray that none of you actually wish to renounce your faith. But I also pray that you take a look deep within your soul and think about what it is you’ve signed up for by calling yourself a follower of Christ, and consider how your cavalier approach to worship is helping your live that out.
By all means, whatever else you love and are able to do, whatever else you’re called to do, whatever else you find to do as part of your life’s work, do that with a sense of worship and service to God. Those can be acts of worship, too. But they don’t take the place of liturgy in your life.
S0, as my Patheos Evangelical colleague Anne Kennedy recently said, “Get some liturgy.”
For you and your children.
And for the sake of the whole world.
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