I’d really like to watch a football game tonight. Well, I’d like to watch the New York Giants beat the New England Communists, anyway.
But I will be taping the game.
We have church on Sunday night. I know a lot of you no longer have Sunday Night services and I’ve wondered if they are going the way of the dodo bird, the mastodon and Training Union. But we still have a service every Sunday night. Sunday night is not a biblical mandate and those who don’t have one are not sinning, but it is part of our regular weeking schedule.
And I just can’t bring myself to cancel the service or to change it because of a football game. Christmas? Yeah, we cancelled service so people could be home with their families. Snow storms? Of course. But a football game? We are going to alter the schedule we have set because of a worldwide festival of commercialism and fanaticism called the Super Bowl?
When we cancel our services for a football game, we are crossing a line I don’t want to cross.
When I was growing up, nothing came before church. Maybe it was legalistic and overly formal and all that. But if family came to town we brought them to church. We were there Sunday morning and night, and Wednesday night. If there was a school event or a sports event, we went to church. Back then, the Wizard of Oz came on TV one Sunday night a year. I actually faked illness to stay home and watch it. We went to church!
Did that go too far? Perhaps. I don’t know. But I know that I had a sense of the importance of the gathering of believers that many do not have today. “I can’ t come today, pastor. It is the one year anniversary of when we grouted the tile in our basement shower and we are celebrating with brunch.”
Be careful what you cancel church for. Subtly, it seems to me, you are setting spiritual priorities that your people may pick up on.
I know, we’d probably have 10 times as many people here tonight if we watched the game (blacking out the godaddy.com commercials), served popcorn and had a devotional during halftime. We probably won’t have 20 people here tonight (maybe revival will come and 25 will show up). But I just wonder what message we are sending when we let a football game interrupt our worship schedule.
I know, I’m old. But there were things about the good old days that I liked!