Friday, March 06, 2015

Sunday feels the squeeze of society

In The Carpenter’s Workshop

Dr. Russell Lee

Posted: Friday, March 6, 2015 12:00 am

Contributing writer

When God gave us the fourth commandment, he was thinking of sad times in the future, now today, when people would no longer see the Sabbath as more important than anything else. Even if we come to church, the rest of the day is often treated just like any other day.

In years past, most people were in church on a Sunday morning.
I would go so far as to say that 80 percent of Americans used to be in church on a regular basis.

Now, I would venture to say that 80 percent are not in church on Sundays. Why is that? And what does it mean?

I’m not so sure about the why. Little by little society has become a 24-hour, seven-day force which never stops. So in a world where businesses run 24 hours and seven days a week, it is no wonder that the church has been squeezed out of the equation for many busy pilgrims.

And millions have left the church because of something or someone who crossed or hurt them. Their places are either empty or taken by others who seek to know the living and saving Jesus Christ as God.

Some may not come because they think of the church as a place for perfect people. Poppycock! The church is a hospital for the wounded, a place where the hurt find healing and a place where the hurt are made whole.

Or they may not come because they say the church is full of hypocrites. Well, come on. There’s always room for one more.

Millions more will not come as an adult either, because they did not see a consistent witness by their parents or because they were never brought as a child to see the wonder and love God makes possible in a church community.

Others may see Sunday as day of rest, which it is, but miss the part about the God who created it as a time of worship first and foremost. Rest for the body is good, and for that we must be thankful. But renewal of the soul does not happen until we place our bodies in church.

Dwight L. Moody wrote that “Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.” He could not be more right. We need the silence, the spirit of God which flows in the church and the worship of God with brothers and sisters on a regular basis, or we will die…dead as a doornail, which incidentally was never alive in the first place.

But what does not being in church mean? What is the effect of non-church attendance on a regular basis? Well, look around. Morality has sunk to the depth of the late Roman Empire. People are killing each other on a daily basis. Families don’t know how to be families. The church is under attack for not being relevant, by people who do not know whether it is relevant or not because they are not there.

People listen to secular and atheistic television programs to find out about Jesus and who he is not, rather than listening to the scriptures which tell us who he is. The Bible is seen now by many as one of the guides for living, rather than the ultimate source for living and faith. And if the Bible can’t justify what we want to do, we just look to our own sense, which because of sin is as limited as the rock wall outside the church.

God has chosen to give his healing, unifying love through the church.
There is no question about this to serious students of the Bible. Jesus said, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” So are you are a rock or a sponge? A solid surface, or a mucky swamp, a pool of quicksand?

What will make God happy with you is that when you arise on Sunday morning, the main place that you know you will be is in church. Whatever else happens on that day is up to you. But the nourishment, the inspiration, the life-blood of faith, the vital needs our hearts and souls will never be satisfied without, they can be found in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We cannot, dear reader, do anything about what other people do. But we can be a part of returning Sunday to what it was set aside by our holy God and creator to be -- a time to walk into church, greet friends and neighbors and lift your prayers and hearts toward heaven -- a place to find out how we can help others.

Maybe we will return to a time of stores not being open on Sunday morning, and no sports will be scheduled. Maybe we will return to being a nation which embraces the principles of Christianity on which she was founded. Maybe, just maybe, every church will be filled to overflowing on Sunday mornings and not a single television will be powered up.

It will be a different day for America and for the world.


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