Yesterday something happened that has only occurred three times in the last five years. On Sunday morning February 11, I slept late in the morning. On Saturday night an ice storm moved into our area, and we decided to cancel our first worship program already. I woke up the next morning and saw no change in the weather with no signs of the city cleaning the streets. I texted with the leaders of the Church, and we decided to cancel all other programs on Sunday. I sent a series of texts and emails along with making sure the information was on the website and Facebook. Then I put my head back on the pillow and went to sleep.
Rarely does a Sunday morning come along that I have the occasion to sleep past the early morning hours. Worship, even on vacation, is a regular part of my weekend. I want to be a worship participant somewhere every weekend. This week the ice canceled our Church gathering, and there was no opportunity to do anything else. A morning like this reminds me of a few ideas that need repeating.
1. Sleeping Allows Me to Experience My Competition. In a world that is rushing from place to place and is always busy, rest is a precious commodity. A minister I know tells preachers that they should sleep late one Sunday a year just to remind themselves what it feels like and why others enjoy it so much.
2. Sleeping One Sunday Makes Me Feel Nothing. Today I feel no closer or further away from the Lord. I do not feel like my growth is stagnate or fading. I honestly feel like nothing has changed. Sure, I missed the fellowship of other believers, but I know I will see them again. It was just one Sunday I missed, and I am completely convinced it will have no ill effects on me.
3. It Would Be Easy to Miss Again. Yesterday I was able to get some extra rest. I don’t feel like my faith diminished in any way. One week seemed to have no consequences, so would it really hurt to miss another?
4. Missing Worship Can Become Regular. One Sunday can give way to two. Two leads to three. You tell yourself nothing has changed with your relationship with God. In fact, you might try to convince yourself that you are better than those hypocrites that go to Church. After all, you are out in the world shining your light while others are hiding out in the Church building. You are blessing your family and your community, and you worship in your own way. Slowly your attendance at Church gatherings gets more sporadic and infrequent.
5. It is Easy for Church and Worship Will Become a Thing of Your Past. One day you wake up, and your faith is gone. It is a long slow slide that leads from one Sunday sleeping late to a position of no faith. It sounds almost unbelievable, but I see it happen nearly every year. When I talk to people about why they no longer attend Church, the response usually becomes something like “I just got out of the habit.”
I hope that yesterday some of you were able to attend worship somewhere. I know that others of you were not able to do it. I hope that you will not let it become a habit. I hope that you will begin making plans to be there next Sunday. An ounce of planning and prevention is worth a hundred blogs and sermons trying to bring you back.