I am sitting on my back porch enjoying the beautiful evening, listening to wind chimes that I was given as a thoughtful gift. But it’s hot and I’m getting ready to go to camp. All the signs point to summer! Yep, It is summer! School is out! Graduation and all the parties that go with it have happened.
As a kid, I remember how excited I was for summer to come and no school for three months. No more classes and no homework. There was time to play outside, go to friends, and bike all over town. More time to have fun! Maybe even go on vacation somewhere or visit relatives.
Summer arrives and we get excited for all the fun stuff we have planned. Sometimes I think we have the same attitude about going to church and participating in church activities. We find so many activities to fill our time. It’s easy to feel like we are on summer vacation from church. I hope that is not as exciting for you as being out of school was for me. We are distracted by the fun things we have planned.
That’s not how it should be; we should never take a vacation from church. Going on vacation and missing church is understandable but taking a vacation from church is another thing altogether. Now, you are thinking I have to say that because I’m a pastor. That’s not why I say it I promise! I say it because I believe it is an important place to be with the body of Christ.
I was talking about this with a friend the other day and she told me the sweetest story, so with her permission, I will share it with you. She and her extended family were on vacation; grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins so many people. One of the things they do on their vacation is to have a talent show. They asked my friend to sing, she was a little girl maybe 5 or 6. She didn’t know what to sing, they suggested Jesus Loves Me.
She responded, “We don’t sing that in the summer we are on vacation from Sunday school.” Many churches stop doing Sunday school and kid’s activities during the summer and she thought that much like school it was summer and we were off for a little while. I’m confident her parents shared with her that Jesus loves her all year long and singing the song would be great!!
Hebrews 10:25 says “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” This says we are to actually gather together in the same place, as the body of Christ. There is a relationship we have with fellow believers. The opportunity we have is to love, support, and encourage one another when we gather together to worship and praise.
We many times come to service empty from the week and all that is required of us in this world. The troubles and problems have really taken it out of us. So we come to church and care for each other receiving comfort in Fellowship. We hear the Gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ is proclaimed. We start to be filled with mercy, grace, peace, forgiveness, and His love. We receive God’s blessing at the end of the service and we leave filled to share Christ with the world. We show the amazing love that we received, being the hands and feet of Jesus. And by the end of the week, we are empty and return to be filled again. But, if we take a vacation from church this summer we are going to stay empty.
Have a fun summer. Enjoy the outdoors. Travel and see family and friends. Explore all you can. Just don’t take a vacation from God. He loves you more than you can imagine and want to keep filling you with mercy, grace, peace, forgiveness, and His love so, that you can share them with others in your life!
The writer is the associate pastor at Sidney First Methodist Church in Sidney.