Friday, December 16, 2005

No Church on Sunday

Some of you may have seen some of the falderal going on about some churches choosing to not have services on Christmas day, which is on a Sunday this year. Some churches (generally megachurches, it seems) have chosen to not have the services on Sunday to allow people to spend time with their families as people generally do.

Now, as you read about this on the web, most people are having one of two reactions.
  1. "I cannot believe they are thinking about not having church on this day! It's Sunday. You always go to church on Sunday!'
  2. "What's the big deal? So you go to church on a Saturday night or not at all instead of Sunday. No problem."
I honestly think both of those points have merit. I understand the value of tradition. I'm at church with my family every Sunday. Of course, I get paid to be there and run the sound and technology, and it would be a lie to say that on some mornings I wouldn't rather attend Mattress Springs Church of Christ. However, I think there's a lot of merit to the ideas of traditions and maintaining them (and I guess the argument could be made from the the other side about opening presents on Christmas day).

However, here's where I think both sides miss the point. We have done a great job of assigning our spiritual lives to a specific hour on Sunday wherein we make sure we get our spiritual time cards checked. The interesting thing is that when you look at how the early church worked, there was nothing of that mindset. People got together because they wanted to be together as a spiritual family. They wanted to spend time together. There was no sense of obligation.

I think that one of the problems with having specific buildings for meetings is that it becomes very easy to compartmentalize our spiritual lives into that building and the time we spend there. Just look at the worship wars that Churches of Christ have about instrumental music and the "five acts of worship:" singing, teaching, communion, giving, and praying (all of which must occur, but cannot be done simultaneously...).

Like I said, I think going to a church building to meet with other Christians is a good thing to do, but it is NOT our only experience of church, of community. I can experience that community with my family, a small group, another church.

So if your congregation is not meeting on Christmas day, enjoy your time with what you do. If it is, enjoy that time with your spiritual family.


Tony Arnold said...

Well said Phil, as is the norm for you. I truly appreciate your parsimony while being clear. Something I struggle greatly with.


Rob Cox said...

Well said. Thanks for you work on the concert too!

greg said...

good stuff. I've seen some of these arguments, and folks commenting that they're"sickened" by the churches moving services or canceling them. It's as if worshipping and serving Jesus can only happen "at church", and in fact, must happen there for at least an hour every Sunday. I have no problem with either approach. Have it or not. Whatever's best for your church family. Seems like a good plan to me.

sosad said...

Well Said!!

It is the legalism of this argument that has really upsets me.

Does God hear my prayers more so in a designated building? I don't think so! I do believe in that we should assemble as a "church", but that is by no means what secures "MY" salvation!

Was I upset when I heard my church wasn't having services on Christmas sunday? Sure, a little, but then I thought, well, that's ok, it will give me the chance to visit another church. I enjoy visiting other churches and seeing what other parts of the body are doing.

The mean attitudes I've heard and the using of scripture to attack other parts of the body makes me sick!! It is the exact legalistic, hypocritical attitudes that kept me out of church for over 10 years!

Whatever your opinion is Merry Christmas and let's try to love one another!

Phil said...

Thanks for all the comments, gang. This post has actually gotten a lot of looks and I hope people have gotten something to think about.

Merry Christmas all!

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