There were 17 races in Colorado this past Sunday: Everything from the Be Ovary Aware 5K in Colorado Springs to the Hermit Pass Marathon in Westcliffe to the Farmers 5000 right here in Wheat Ridge. This last, I’m pleased to report, did not impact my drive to church in any way.
This has not always been true – especially back when I was attempting to get to worship services near downtown. I’ve lost countless hours of my life trying to get to church through race-related detours and road closures. More than once, it has been utterly impossible.
Why, I’ve often wondered, do they always schedule these things on Sunday morning? Do they just assume that no one leaves home on Sunday morning, therefore no one has need of the streets before noon? Grrrrrrr.
Alas, I fear we churchgoers have been complicit in this corruption of our Sabbath. It’s not just the non-churchgoers who don’t see the value in regular Sunday morning worship. Even the faithful have allowed the culture to convince us that going to church on Sunday morning is optional, that it’s something we do when it’s convenient but are willing to forgo when it’s not.
I fear we are losing sight of what commitment really means, and what is required of a faithful Christian. Regular church attendance – and by regular, I don’t mean once month; I mean every Sunday – had been the normative expectation for generations. Now it’s not. I don't think the results of that shift are anything to be proud of. I think all we’ve really done is taught our children that God is just one among many competing demands on our time. We ignore our Lord’s command to “seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” We forget what a Sabbath is, let alone how to keep it holy.
Here’s my challenge for us for the rest of the year: Next time someone invites you to take part in a Sunday morning activity that doesn’t involve going to church, just say, “I’m sorry. I already have a Sunday morning obligation.” And remember, you do have a Sunday morning obligation. Somebody (and I do mean SOMEBODY) is waiting for us, and it’s a date we need to keep.
All this is not to say there are NO exceptions to the always-be-in-church rule. And to help you decide whether that alternative activity rises to the level of good-enough reason to skip church, I’ve created a little decision-making flow chart. Always happy to be helpful!
See you on Sunday!