I have been thinking about this lately quite a bit - Why do we bother to gather for worship on Sundays? What is the point? Is it really necessary? We live in a culture that thinks that almost all that Christians do is unnecessary, so of course, we are going to have constant alternatives to being and being with the people of God. To actually participate with the Body of Christ in worship and congregational spiritual formation, we are going to have to fight for it and make it a priority. This is something that many of us have a hard time doing.
We have become convinced that any claim on our time from Scripture, the church, or God Himself is only to be seen as legalism and should be rejected as out of touch with the spiritual life. But, we have no problem with giving into the claim that leisure activities, kid's sports, family, entertainment, or simply wasting time places on our lives. We do not understand that we have thrown off the yoke of God's authority and have come under the yoke of the world and the flesh. Why do you think that we are so tired all of the time? For all of our fun activities, we are more tired and stressed than ever. Maybe we are doing it wrong.
The Christian Sabbath (celebrated on Sunday because of the resurrection of Christ) is a day to be spent in prayer, worship, study of Scripture, gathering with other Christians, reflection, and rest. It is a day that we are to think about the week before and to think about what is coming up. It is a day that we submit everything to God and it helps to order our lives in God's creation and larger purposes. It is a day that we live differently from the world and where we mark our lives with God's grace, instruction, and where we fully place our hope in the Resurrection and the New Creation that is going to break into this world. For Christians who do not regularly participate in it for whatever reason, they are missing something beautiful that God would give them - if they would just make room in their lives to receive it.
Eugene Peterson, who I love for his devotional writings, says this about the Sabbath in an interview at the Q Conference:
The notion of being too busy to celebrate the Sabbath is due to the way society relates to time, Peterson said, noting that "we kill time, we use up time," but believers have to learn to experience time. Peterson referred to the ancient Greeks' two concepts of time – "chronos" and "kairos." Chronos refers to chronological clock time – the time people fill, kill and use up, Peterson explained. But kairos is the opening of an opportunity in time. It is when something happens that changes people, and it is in kairos that Christians have to celebrate the Sabbath.
"Kairos time is the time of salvation, forgiveness and worship," and to experience kairos, Christians have to "break the habit of killing time," Peterson explained.
Think about what is keeping you from full participation in the Sabbath. What might God have in store for you if you fully opened yourself up to God and the community of faith on this day? How might God want to shape you for His purposes if you stopped all the other activities, even good things, and participated sacrificially with the Body of Christ under the Lordship of Christ? Everything worth doing requires some sacrifice and it is worth fighting for. We sacrifice for what we care about and for what we think has value and worth. What do you care about? Where is your faith located when it comes to how you spend your Sundays?