31 Days: obligatory worship

The title says it all on some Sundays for the average person, correct? If you are truly honest with yourself, everyone has had a Sunday here or there that they have attended worship out of obligation. If you went to church as a teenager or child, most Sundays were probably labeled “obligatory” as far as you were concerned.

It’s okay. We’re human.

And, the pastor’s family is not immune to the feeling of “obligatory worship” Sundays, either. Unfortunately, the Pastor doesn’t have the option to just sleep in on a random Sunday morning, which means that the Pastor’s wife doesn’t have that luxury either.

Today in worship, one of the members was the scripture reader for the congregation this morning and shared a funny, but very true story before he read for the service. He shared that today was “proof that we’re supposed to be in church on Sundays” because of a phone call he received this morning before worship. He said that his wife was asleep on the couch with a migraine and he was curled up in his chair watching Yard Crashers when his phone rang telling him that the office forgot to call him this week to remind him that he was the assigned scripture reader this week. So, there he was…his wife still on the couch asleep & he didn’t know how the yard turned out, but he was in church sharing the scripture with us and worshipping with us for World Communion Sunday.

I have no idea if the service was a blessing to him or not, but I know that it was a blessing to me to hear his honesty and humorous story about participating in worship. And I hope that others were blessed by his candid truth as well.

After working in the church for the past 8ish years, I can tell you that there have been a number of Sundays when I would much rather stay in bed or curl up on the couch and not bother dressing or attending church. Not every time, but the majority of the times that I’ve attended out of a feeling of obligation, and even begrudgingly, the services have been a blessing to me and I’ve been challenged by what I’ve heard God speaking to me through the music, the prayers and/or the scripture and sermon.

It’s hard to know that week in & week out, you’re expected to be a presence at worship…and to be happy about it. Every human has days when they don’t want to attend; including the pastor & his/her family.

I think that when we attend, even if not in “the right mindset,” God uses that and accepts the effort. As I’ve heard from the preacher the past few weeks, “everything that we do is an offering to God.” I think this extends to attending worship out of obligation. We feel like we have to, but we’ve also made the decision to attend when we could have decided to stay home…God sees our offering and will bless the offering. We may not see it as a blessing, but God receives the offering and delights in our decision.

Today was World Communion Sunday, and I’m personally glad that our new congregation friend received the phone call to come to worship. (It almost makes me want to encourage the deacons to each call their sheep each week and remind them/invite them to worship that morning!) How neat would it be to receive a call encouraging us to attend, especially on a day when we’d rather just sit in the chair and watch Yard Crashers?!?

Today we enjoyed Communion and remembered that the Spirit flows through all of our brothers and sisters in every time and place when we all participate in the sacrament today. What a special blessing! What a wonderful reminder that while our God is large enough to care for all of us, but very much present with each and every one of us individually.

Yes, there are Sundays when I’d rather be at home in my pajamas watching my baby boy crawl around and play rather than get dressed and go to worship. But there has not yet been a Sunday that I haven’t left worship with a smile on my face, feeling refreshed and thankful, truly thankful, that I made the effort to attend the service. I may not get to hear the sermon each week due to a restless little boy, but I get to worship God, be among new friends, feel welcomes and love from our new church family, and enjoy hearing my husband lead us in the service, prayer and many weeks, in song as well. It may be an obligation for me as the pastor’s wife, but I’ve chosen on those Sundays to try and focus on the blessings and grace that I see and feel and worship begins to feel less “required” for me.

Worship might be obligatory sometimes,
but those times when we push through the obligation…
we are blessed & God is blessed!

2 thoughts on “31 Days: obligatory worship

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