There is a chill in the breeze today. Summer is just about over and the fall season is upon us. September is one of the busiest months of the year. The kids are back to school, club programs have started, school sports, autumn festivals, and other outdoor activities. There is also the added pressure of house projects that need to get done before the days turn cold and snow begins to fall.
All this activity puts a strain on our schedule. We all know there is “never enough time” to do all the things that we want to do. Inevitably, these activities invade our corporate gathering on Sunday. Years ago, most event planners left Sunday morning open for church. Today, for most of the world, Sunday is just another day.
Community events, such as 5K races, soccer tournaments, and other social activities are often planned on Sunday. All this activity applies pressure on us, and the time that we have reserved for gathering together with God’s church for corporate worship. How do we handle this pressure in a God-honoring way? How do we defend this time?
In Hebrew 10:25, the writer admonishes us to “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” He is telling us to not succumb to outside pressures or our own motivations that would cause us to neglect gathering with other believers. In the positive, he is saying that we should encourage one another, and this can only be accomplished when are together.
Paul writes in Acts 2:42, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” He is showing us that the early Christians would gather regularly for teaching and fellowship. They made is a priority to gather, break bread, and pray together. The modern church uses community groups to accomplish this same function. When we meet regularly to study God’s work and pray for each other, our faith is strengthened.
Defending our Sunday worship time is a function of our heart’s priorities. Who or what is first in your life? Most of us truly desire to be closer to God, and we are looking for ways to make that happen. Matthew shows us clearly that corporate worship will draw us closer to God. Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” When we gather in the name of Jesus Christ, we acknowledge that He is with us, and we identify ourselves as God’s people – a people of his possession called to proclaim God’s glory to the world (1 Peter 2:9-12).
The Holy Spirit is present in our worship gathering, and His ministry is to bring us into a closer relationship with the Father. He has promised to be present in our worship. And as the Spirit church, our part is to gather as a gospel-centered community on Sunday and invite others (friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, etc.) into that gospel-centered community.
This blog post is meant to encourage all believers. Everyone’s life if full of complexity and responsibilities. Many earthly (and spiritual) factors work against our desire to attend church regularly. Take time this week to meditate on the gospel. Allow the Holy Spirit to reinvigorate a desire in you to gather on Sunday morning. And pray that he will empower you to live on mission by inviting those in your social circle into gospel-centered community.