Sunday mornings have always been special to me. The routines and traditions that my parents established made Sunday a day that was set apart. One thing that Sunday always meant, was going to church. We moved a few times while I was growing up, so the church building and faces would change, but the understanding that the Vaughan family would be inside when the doors opened, never wavered.
Sunday was not our only time to meet with God. It was understood that our time with God was all day every day. We were raised knowing that God was as close as our seeking hearts. We understood that it was possible to walk as closely or as distantly as we chose to with our everpresent Lord. The purposes of church were to listen to the sermon (kind of a spiritual tune up) that the Lord had pressed upon our humble and godly pastor. Ours always were humble and godly. If they had chosen not to be, something would have had to change. In the early days, my parents chose with care who we submitted our hearts to. In the second half of my growing up years, my dad was our pastor. We had a good inside look at whether his walk matched his talk!
Church was also the time for anything public, such as our first public profession of salvation and our choice to follow the Lord’s command to be baptized after we were saved. Church was the time and place for setting burdens on the altar, for a private dialogue with our Lord carried out at the front of the church on our knees, it was the time for reconciliation, repentance and forgiveness. As a child and young person, I distinctly remember the unified good will of my church family toward me. Even though I was quite possibly the worst behaving preacher’s kid in the world, I was prayed for, challenged and encouraged by the adults that worshipped with my family every Sunday.
Our churches were the first spillover of grief or celebration. The first place sad or embarrassing, or exciting news was shared. It was where things were first made public. Engagements, pregnancies, deaths and births were shared in the loving supportive context of people who were connected by something stronger than blood. There was the sense that we would spend eternity together and we needed to love each other and support each other here as well.
We had church on Sunday morning and Sunday evening. The services were the parentheses that set apart our Sunday from the rest of the week. Between services we had a special Sunday meal. This was the day for special foods, lingering at the table, and maybe following with dessert. Of course, being in the South, it was all awash in that glorious sweet tea! After a leisurely meal we would all gravitate to a comfortable place and rest. Yep! Rest. We didn’t watch football. We didn’t wash the car or do laundry. We didn’t cut the grass. We didn’t go fishing or hunting. We didn’t work. We rested until time to go back to church at night.
Our family travels a long distance to church and it seems that we have everywhere we have ever lived. This changes our routines some. The amount of rest is diminished because of travel time.We have the privilege of being guests in the home of a different family from our church every Sunday. We have a time of rest and fellowship with that host family. My children’s memories will be a little different than mine. They will remember though that Sunday was set apart, spent with the people we love the most and set aside for rest and rejuvenation. It will be interesting to see how they interperet Sunday in their own families as they grow up.
This post is recycled from my other blog. www.lawana-counterculture.blogspot.com
God bless you BIG!