52 SUNDAYS: What If I'm Running Late
This year we're challenging our members and regular attenders to attend a church service every week in 2014. You can read more about the 52 SUNDAYS challenge here. This article is part of a series of articles about 52 SUNDAYS.
What if I'm running late?
When should you give up and stay home? What's the tipping point? You've missed so much that it's not worth going anymore. Ever find yourself at home on a Sunday morning thinking this?
If I'm late?
Ok. Let's start with the "if" part. The rest of what I'm about to say assumes you are regularly on time, which for us is 10:45am. Our service begins at 11:00am. Newcomers arrive before that. Fifteen minutes is ample time to get situated and greet your friends and guests.
I'm a huge fan of sleep and I've already sympathized with the parents of young children. I know it's difficult, but trust me. Train yourself now to leave on time for church and it'll pay off big time. If you are arriving at 11:00am, you're missing tons.
Some is better than none.
Don't think of the service as a complete unit. A sacramental event whereby, if you complete the checklist you get the prize. It's true every part is purposeful and I definitely don't recommend you pick and choose which parts of the liturgy you participate in. However, the Sunday service is a celebration. It's better to catch the end of the party than stay at home alone. Get over your "lateness" and get to church ASAP.
Sundays last all day.
Don't think of Sundays as ending with the Benediction. I'm not going to say that the fellowship and ministry that happens after the service is more or less important than the service itself. That's a false dichotomy...they are both important.
Yet what happens after the service (even if you've missed the whole service) is part of what we do on Sundays. We welcome guests. We pray for one another. We comfort, serve, and practice hospitality. We rest with one another.
We rest together.
So often I think one of the biggest challenges we face when thinking about Sundays is our individualistic, consumer mentality. If we've missed something or are unaware of a personal need, then why go? Why make the effort? Especially if I've already missed the beginning.
Your God and your friends will understand. You woke up late. You've had a bad morning. No worries...we'll take whatever part of you we can get.