Since October of 2014 I have been mostly unattached to the church. There is one church that we have attended more than anywhere else and it has been a place of grace, mercy and peace for which we are very thankful. For most of my entire life I never missed church. The thought of a Sunday off was not in my stream of thought. Let me list some disclaimers in reference to what I am about to write:
I believe in the importance of belonging to a group of people that view themselves as the church.
I believe that we need each other and a place to practice our gifts and the fruit of the Spirit.
I believe in the Sabbath although church has little to do with true Sabbath observance
I believe that it is hard to maintain one’s faith alone. We need to be connected to other followers.
So with that being said after years of never missing church I need to process my thinking and what I have experienced the last couple of years. For the most part Christians do not observe the Sabbath. It is not a day of rest. It is not a day dedicated to God all day long or a day for allowing our bodies and souls to catch up as we rest. The typical Sunday morning is a rush to get out the door. (Sounds like every other day of the week) We worry about how we look and what others are going to think of how we look. We worry about “the experience.” Is it going to be worthwhile? Are we going to walk away with anything beneficial? Will the music be good or great? What will our kids do during church? If you are involved in ministry at church you get there early and stay late. Where will we eat afterward? Will we eat at home? Who’s going to fix all that food and clean up the mess? And then the rest of the day most Christians spend running here or there. We shop, we mow our yards; we play; we work and get lots of things done. We run and run some more.
An honest view of what the Sabbath was supposed to be, would cause us to stop and rethink what we have turned it into. I’ll let you think that through for yourself.
On a recent Sunday morning I moved to the couch about 5:30 in the morning after letting the dog out. I watched and listened to the woods outside come alive with the typical sounds that accompany this daily event. I felt my body resting. I thought more about God and my relationship with Him then I typically do in church. I have a hard time focusing on God in church. I prayed. I slept. I recovered. I relaxed. And . . . . I didn’t feel guilty. I felt refreshed. For once this day felt different than every other day of the week where I rush out the door and go from morning till night.
I’m not advocating staying home from church.
I am always advocating for church to reinvent itself and respond to finding better ways to lead people to connect with God and others. I am a huge advocate for simple church or gathering together to pray and open the Word. I long to be part of a living organism and not just another organization that only gets more demanding in its ability to function. This is an age old problem and serving has always been part of the church dynamic. Twenty percent generally serve the eighty percent that consume. That makes church work as well.
This is what I believe the Sabbath should be:
A Day of Rest
A Day for Reflection
A Day for Renewal (If you want the whole sermon go to http://www.sermonhunt.com 2/13/05)
I won’t always stay home on the couch on Sunday but it awakened a yearning inside me to stop the rat race for one day a week. I am thinking about it. I am going to figure it out. There has to be an answer. This blog is just pondering out loud. It’s just me rambling. Maybe it only applies to me and if so you can pray that I find a way to “sabbath” correctly. I want to find a way to make the day holy again. It was not laziness but it was a morning of rest, reflection and renewal. It felt right and it felt holy like I was really honoring God. Maybe Saturday evening church is the answer and then Sunday could be a true Sabbath.