I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Our feet are standing
in your gates, Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is built like a city
that is closely compacted together.
That is where the tribes go up—
the tribes of the Lord—
to praise the name of the Lord
according to the statute given to Israel.
There stand the thrones for judgment,
the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.”
For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your prosperity.
- Psalm 122:1-9
“A lot of people get what I call ‘Sunday-itis’ on Sunday mornings. Do you know what Sunday-itis is? It attacks the victim shortly before breakfast on Sunday morning. It is accompanied by a feeling of weakness and lethargy. Sometimes the victim has a slight headache which is aggravated by the ringing of the church bells in the community. But the disease is of short duration, usually disappearing about noon, when the victim is able to eat a full dinner and play golf in the afternoon. But the symptoms usually appear again about 7:30 Sunday evening, and then disappear until the next Sunday morning.”
- Billy Graham, Day by Day with Billy Graham (June 9)
“One of the afflictions of pastoral work has been to listen, with a straight face, to all the reasons people give for not going to church:
“’My mother made me when I was little.’
”’There are too many hypocrites in the church.’
“’It’s the only day I have to sleep in.’
“There was a time when I responded to such statements with simple arguments that exposed them a s flimsy excuses. Then I noticed that it didn’t make any difference. If I showed the inadequacy of one excuse, three more would pop up in its place. So I don’t respond anymore. I listen (with a straight face) and go home and pray that person will one day find the one sufficient reason for going to church, which is God. I go about my work hoping that what I do and say will be usable by the Holy Spirit to create in that person a determination to worship God in a Christian community.
“Many people do: they decide to worship God, faithfully and devoutly. It is one of the important acts in a life of discipleship. And what is far more interesting than the reasons (excuses) people give for not worshiping is discovering the reasons they do.
“Psalm 122 is the song of a person who decides to go to church and worship God.”
- Eugene H. Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction
This post has been made difficult by the autocorrect changing Sunday-itis to Sunday-it is. The corrections of the autocorrect have been tedious, but with God’s help, I persevered.
All this being said, we have all, at least most, have not been “going” to church lately. With the look of the livestream video from the church that we are presently not attending, it seems most, if not all, was prerecorded, and not live at all. So, was anyone “going” to church on “Sunday?”
And with a habit lasting several months of not going to church, will that change?
My wife and I discussed this a day or so ago. Our church’s attendance drops off drastically in the summer months. There are, of course, vacations. There is that increased mobility since the children are not in school all week to go on day trips and maybe stay up late. After all, daylight savings time gives us that “extra hour of sunlight!!” There are those who use the good weather to do home improvements and such. And of those that have the means, there are those who go to the lake house and forget how to get back home until September. I wonder how many of them become “snowbirds” in retirement, going South for the winter? Does anyone have any statistics on that?
But there is also Sunday-itis.
All that I have been mentioning so far is what Rev. Peterson would call reasons (excuses), even Sunday-itis.
Our church put out their requirements for church attendance, once the church full-lockdown is over. The sanctuary would only accept 100 worshippers. It seemed from the letter that person number 101 would be asked to leave. Ouch! The church is filled with late-comers. How will that work?!?!?! Everyone has to have their temperature checked at the door. None would be allowed to sit where they wanted. Rather, they would be forced by the ushers (or might I call them overlords) to sit at a socially acceptable distance from all other families. Singing hymns would be limited as people breath harder during the hymns, and the mask (absolute requirement) would get in the way, so we can do without music.
There were many more rules, about twice that many, regarding church attendance that will start on the first Sunday of July, Independence Day weekend. Good luck with that!!! All those rules, sounding like Pharisee Nirvana, made worshipping so unappealing that my wife and I don’t know if we are going to even try to go until the Fall. I have volunteered to teach Sunday school, an adult class, but they haven’t figured out how that will work yet. Probably none of the decision makers attend Sunday school anyway, and in the past, they seemed to go out of their way to interrupt it. So maybe my wife and I can be relieved of my commitment to attend church elsewhere.
If it seems that I am having a bad case of Sunday-itis on a Saturday, you are wrong!!!!! I am writing this on Friday and scheduling it for tomorrow morning.
But, with all those months of staying home, some people will show up just to see the spectacle. But many will develop Sunday-itis and may never darken the doors of church again. They will have succumbed to a newly developed habit. I wrote earlier this week about John the Baptist’s sermon where he said that God could create children of Abraham out of the rocks under their feet (Luke 3). Will God be left with that option? Will God start the machine of earth’s destruction because the church gave up because of a Chinese virus, a bug made, in part, by man?
Or will we, the small remnant of God’s chosen people, will we burn in our hearts to seek God?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.