For some reason, churchgoing in America seems inevitably to be tied to the school year. Maybe it’s because we have a “summer schedule” for worship that is lighter than our regular one. Maybe it’s because we launch our new programming season on what we call “Rally Day” each year in early fall, around the time that school goes back into session. I’m not sure why churches started making accommodations for summer, but maybe it goes with the assumption that fewer people are coming in these months and thus only one service is needed and nothing of most everything else, besides worship, that we normally do during the fall, winter and spring months.
This creates problems for us as the body of Christ. Yes, people do tend to go away on weekends more in the summer than they do during the rest of the year. But we also find the assumption that people don’t come to church regularly in the summer even if they are in town, because they are taking a summer break from church.
If you just breezed through that last sentence while nodding to yourself I want to say: Whoa! Wait a minute. Does God take a summer vacation? Does your church take a summer break?
Of course our staff does take vacations, but the church itself is always here for you. And not just all week every week, but 24/7, all summer and through darkest and coldest months of winter.
When you take a break from church you end up missing a lot. This summer, for example, we are moving at lightning pace through Luke’s dramatic gospel as Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem. Each week follows on the previous one. It’s like a Netflix series where, if you miss an episode, you lose the thread of what is going on. The parable of the good Samaritan, for example, doesn’t just happen in a void. It comes at a strategic moment as a specific response to a major breakthrough that has just happened in the previous week’s Gospel reading. You need the previous week, and the week before that, to get the larger picture of the spiritual warfare with which Jesus (and we) are dealing.
Plus, these are all great stories with timeless messages. We need them for our lives. Together they give us the full picture of how we are to live as Christians. Without them we have only a vague idea, so therefore may end up being vague about our faith.
If you really can’t come to church on a given week, or during the summer, and don’t have time to watch our services online, you can always read the sermons after the fact. They’re easy to find on our web site under the Worship menu and contain the link to the relevant reading.
But far better than that, I hope to see you in church.