Last week my wife went all out and made a taco meal unlike any she has attempted. It was incredible. I was driving to the church building last Sunday morning down the 405 in the Seattle area and reflected on how Sundays are similar in some ways to the meal we shared.
Sundays are like a family dinner.
You gather together with largely the same people in regular rhythm. You gather to receive. Those present all chip-in to make sure the meal happens. Even though you know how to (and should) feed yourself during the day, in the evening you come expectant that you will leave nourished and there will be something special about gathering around the table.
At the same time, Sundays are not like a family dinner.
You usually don’t conduct an adoption ceremony between dinner and dessert. You typically don’t turn from a dinner time story to see a baby delivered in the kitchen. No one wakes from a coma while the condiments are placed back in the fridge. And yet, this is the reality of the saints gathered. Miracles happen. People are born again. Someone who has been going through the motions for years finally has the light bulb burn bright. A marriage in the room comes off the cliff and heads towards health. Someone longing for community meets a group leader and begins a beautiful friendship. Sometimes it happens during a sermon or a song, but by God’s unmerited grace these things happen.
The fact is, there are no “normal Sundays”.
This is helpful for those of us that have played a role in ministry on Sundays for a while. I’ve led over 1,000 services, which means more than 1,000 times I’ve woken up, got dressed, and showed up to a building, often earlier than my body was willing, to prepare a team of musicians to sing some simple songs over and with people of varying types: people I have cried with, people I have never seen before, people that sing every word, and people that stare at me with arms crossed as though they are actively imagining how to murder me in the parking lot.
When you are on a church staff, you hopefully put a bit of planning into the church calendar year. In these conversations, you hear seemingly harmless phrases like “peak weekends” or “down time” or “low-attendance Sundays” (here’s looking at you Father’s Day) and while I’d be the first in line to say that planning around these patterns is not only okay, but wise, I’d also say they can build a subtle case for Sundays that don’t matter. That’s simply not the case.
When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up. 1 Corinthians 14
Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10
Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. Ephesians 5
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Acts 2
The bible’s simple but emphasized language for what Sunday’s should look like should apply to every Sunday we put on for the church (read people) that we serve. In light of the sheer importance of what happens on Sundays, we should readily accept that there are no throw-away weekends. Whether you greet at the doors, chase tiny unregenerate humans around, or move the sliders on a piece of equipment so that all gathered can hear the gospel clearly, every Sunday matters.
This post is part of a new series I am writing called “Blocks”. Because I myself am rebuilding a worship ministry here, it seemed an appropriate time to write these ideas out: for my own clarity, for my team’s understanding, and for your consideration.