Monday, September 01, 2014

Embracing the Ordinary: Sundays






Sometimes I think it takes the extraordinary to help us appreciate the ordinary.

I grew up attending mainline protestant churches from the time I was young.  My family attended a Methodist Church somewhat regularly when I was small.  After some family changes, my family attended the big, local Presbyterian Church (USA) every Sunday - almost never missing.  We were that much sought-after, two-hour family: we always went for Worship and Sunday School.  I think I even wore my prom dress to church the next morning.  It was our family's way.

In college, I tried, but failed to regularly attend from my first year until my final year when I had a car (and driver's license).  Once I started attending again, it was a regular thing, I almost never missed attending.  When I had my babies and the doctors recommended waiting to attend, I listened with my first - it was six weeks! I never waited that long again to be with the people of God on the Lord's Day.

Oh, yes.  My husband and I changed churches after we were married.  We were looking for a conservative, Reformed church that espoused the Doctrines of Grace and was serious about how we are changed by Christ himself.  When we found that, in a local OPC congregation, we immediately fell in love.  But, they had this odd thing: Evening Worship.  What on earth is that about? Same service? Different? It's such a long day, going back seemed a bit excessive.  It's a little bit of culture-shock.

We tried Evening Worship now and again, but my family gathers for Sunday Dinner and the afternoon, so that is a long day already and we were tired and ready to go home. The idea, though, hung around our heads and hearts for 12 years.  We had babies and toddlers and preschoolers.

Finally, we bit the bullet. In January of 2013, we started attending Evening Worship at our church.  Twice the fellowship, twice the community, twice being greeted and blessed by God our Father, twice hymning him as the angels do above, twice the teaching of the Word.  Our congregation offers the Lord's Supper twice a month - once in the morning and once in the evening - so we are fed two times as much.

I can't say how much I love attending worship twice on the Lord's Day.  Our day is bookended by being in His presence and worshipping Him.  Is it easy? No.  Do we sometimes wish we were going home instead? Yes.  Do we ever regret going? NEVER. 

In a month with five Sundays, we don't gather on the fifth Sunday.  I missed gathering to worship last night; an extraordinary occurrence that forced me to Embrace the Ordinary.

How are you Embracing the Ordinary? Why don't you tell us and share with Gina?

10 comments:

  1. Sunday evening service is my favorite. It's not as well attended (at least at our church) but the service & relationships are genuine. We work in so many ministries on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings are when I really feel "fed".

    Thanks for sharing!

    (P.S. we're a Doctrines of Grace believing Baptist family)

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  2. Our Sunday evening service is also less well-attended. It's hard, I get it. But it has been so worthwhile to us. Last year, our Pastor preached some very heavy, dark sermons on Jesus' arrest, trial, and death ... having the balance of our associate preaching on Hebrews really helped to relieve that sense of darkness.

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  3. Our large baptist church doesn't even have evening services anymore! I grew up attending both as my dad was a southern baptist pastor and we literally napped on the pews Sunday afternoon waiting for the evening service because we were commuting. These days our small group meets together and eats, fellowships and prays on Sunday nights. It is by far my favorite way to spend a Sunday evening!

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    1. Napping on the pews! I love it. I had never encountered the idea of two services, so it was quite the culture shock to me. Thanks for sharing your story and practic.

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  4. small (reformed!) world...i was married in an OPC church...my husband's family (the Poundstones) goes all the way back to the founding of the denomination.

    peace keep you.

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    1. Neat, Kort. You must no longer be OP? We're still new enough that even the old names are new to us. We are in the Columbus Ohio church, know anyone there?

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  5. My husband and I both grew up with Evening Worship, so it was just a normal Sunday rhythm for us...until the girls were born. We did not attend for the bulk of two years or more. But it felt like were abandoning the Lord's Day right after lunch, so we have made the effort to go more consistently the last couple of years. I enjoyed reading your experience, Dawn. We are RPCNA, which is like OPC but with Exclusive Psalmody and no instruments. Although our family does not hold that view, but we enjoy singing Psalms now.

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    1. We have a RPCNA pastor and his family in our congregation. He occasionally fills the pulpit and we always sing Psalms then (but we do have a piano and organ [grin])

      Evening worship has been such a wonderful change for us, I'm glad you're regaining the practice!

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  6. Evening worship isn't part of my faith experience, but I love that your family is embracing that opportunity and growing in love of your faith and our Lord through it!
    Thanks for linking up! :)

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    1. Thanks for hosting and commenting! I'm enjoying this link-up. It is freeing to write more specifically and in-depth on one idea like this. It's been a long time since I've done that.

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