Thou shalt be in church on Sunday morning...
Oh wait, where is that found in the Bible? Um, nowhere. But it does say they should be a day of rest, a day to be kept HOLY.
So, Sunday's have been a bit of a difficult day for us over the past year. Our family dynamic has drastically changed as our son grows from 'portable infant' to 'rambunctious toddler' and so we haven't been out to many public places during certain hours of the day. Church being one of them.
It wasn't as difficult, up until about a year ago, when he started getting mobile. Until then, we were more the 'sit at the back & hope he doesn't make too much noise' church goers. But once he was on the move, it got more & more difficult to be there. The church didn't have a nursery or a place we could take him, or lay him down or any of that stuff. So, it was awkward & frustrating for one or both of us to keep him entertained or quiet or away from dangerous or dirty stuff. It just didn't seem worth the effort or the feelings of stress it caused me while I was sitting there. Church shouldn't be stressful, so I wasn't getting much out of it anyways.
Then, his nap scheduled changed, and for the last 10 or so months, he's been having a nap between the morning hours of 9am and 11:30am. Its a good schedule for us, the rest of the week, but it makes trying to go to church pretty much impossible.
And we've tried. Despite him being extra cranky for us denying him his morning nap, we've tried. We've sought out a few other churches that claim to offer nursery care, but in a town that caters to its retired community, the nursery care options were seemingly non-existant, so we've spent a few church services with one of us entertaining him out in the foyer, among glares from seniors who are looking at these noisy young visitors with disdain. Oh yeah, like we really felt welcome & eager to try those churches again.
So, we have sort of given up for the present, knowing that eventually he will outgrow this morning nap. (although I'm certainly not in a rush for it) and that we can one day again get out to a church service on a Sunday morning.
But its annoys me some Sundays too. Like why do we sit here feeling guilty because our butts aren't planted in a pew on Sunday mornings? While there are many references to the first day of the week, gathering together with believers & keeping the day holy (and not working) why do we have to feel guilty when we aren't there. We want to be there, we want to spend time with other believers, but why does it ONLY have to be on Sundays to have that expected fellowship?
Don't get me wrong, I know that many of you have church groups, prayer meetings, Bible studies, and get togethers on other days or even NIGHTS of the week, but there is still always the guilt of not being there on the Sunday morning, like that particular morning is the be all to end all of being a Christian.
I read my Bible nearly daily, I pray, I sing, I worship, I listen to sermons & inspirational preachers, and I don't limit that to Sundays. But I still have a bit of an empty guilt-ridden feeling that we aren't somewhere in a church on a Sunday morning.
I saw this saying on Facebook:
"Sitting in a church makes you no more a Christian than sitting in a garage makes you a car."
Funny, true, sad also. Because that's how we judge. I was one of them too. How can you be a Christian, you never come to church on Sunday? Now I'm feeling the other end of that & it sucks! And its sadly alienating too. Like after a few Sundays of not showing up, you kind of get written off, and then there is even less chances of fellowship, growth or understanding and its like a downward spiral, like its assumed you've given up on God or something. No, we haven't given up on God, and He certainly hasn't given up on us. We've just temporarily had to take a break from the attendance of a church building on a Sunday morning.
We hope to have it again in our future. We hope to not have to feel guilty about it because we aren't there in the present. We hope for understanding, and we hope to BE more understanding when someone else faces the same challenges that we are.
5 weeks ago