Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rainy Sundays and the "Church Decision"

It's Sunday morning. Overnight a cold front moved in from the west and spread low clouds and a soft cold rain. Looks like it's going to rain steadily all day. Pam is making pancakes. The prospect of church attendance hangs precariously, like the sword of Damocles, over our heads. Soon a decision will have to be made. Do we submit ourselves to the discipline of our faith and not forsake the gathering of ourselves together in worship(as is the habit of some)? Or do we give in to the overpowering desire for an uninterrupted day of domestic bliss, including but not limited to, eating, reading and relaxation? Sensing the spiritual tension, Pam has dialed up Christian music on Pandora.

Perhaps if we listen to worship songs in the background all day this will serve to mitigate the damage. Or maybe the dulcet tones of The Old Rugged Cross will only make us feel more guilt. We could always tune in to channel 12 and watch the service on television. Yes, our church is televised and has been continuously for something like a thousand years, a source of great pride for our Media Ministry. But watching your own church on television from the comfort of your sofa in your pajamas brings very little comfort. You see all of your friends in their nice clothes, friends who did the right thing and made it to church. They might be bored, they might be day-dreaming about being at the beach, they might be thinking about where they will go to lunch afterwards instead of listening to the Pastor's sermon, but they are there, and that's the important thing.

To help the decision making process, it always helps to do a Ben Franklin close. You know..that thing you do by making a list of the positives and negatives on a sheet of paper? Ok here goes...

CHURCH ATTENDANCE POSITIVES:

1. Spiritual pride that comes with the knowledge that you overcame the sin of laziness.

2. Unique benefits of the group dynamic of actually being there as opposed to watching on TV.

3. Stirring music with lyrics that tell the story of our faith, and the comfort that comes from hearing the voices of others.

4. Fellowship of  close circle of dear friends.

5. Inspiration drawn from a powerful and relevant sermon drawn from scripture and the hard crucible of life lived fully engaged in the 21st century.

6. Lunch with friends afterwards.


STAYING AT HOME POSITIVES:

1. Being in your pajamas until it's time for lunch.

2. The possibility of an unplanned nap.

3. Having time to read, think and write uninterrupted by plans.

4. Freedom to indulge wild hair of everything from gardening to house cleaning.


CHURCH ATTENDANCE NEGATIVES:

1. Boredom and annoying predictability of liturgy.

2. Having to sit in a pew for over an hour.

3. Having to endure the occasional, mind-numbingly juvenile lyrics of what passes for "praise-music".

4. Trying to ascertain what possible relevance the sermon might have to what I face on Monday.


STAYING AT HOME NEGATIVES:


1. Guilt

2. The nagging feeling that I'm missing something vitally important.

3. Guilt

4. Guilt


Ok, so that about covers it. It's now 8:54. Decision time is roughly 30 minutes away. T-minus 29 minutes and counting actually. Pam says "We should probably go." As usual, she is right. See ya at church.