When It’s Important To Miss Church

The Good Samaritan by David Teniers the younger after Francesco Bassano-Wikimedia Commons

The Good Samaritan by David Teniers the younger after Francesco Bassano

Cherokee Bible Church

I was on the Cherokee Bible Church website today. There I read this lady’s story about how her niece’s leg was badly broken. Because the swelling was so extreme, the doctor put on a temporary cast and told her to come back in two weeks. When the family returned to the doctor as requested, he took so many x-rays that the family missed church. (It was a Wednesday night service. If you’re interested, you can read more about it here.)

Missing Church For A Month

Missing church has been on my mind lately. My wife Kathy hasn’t been to church in almost a month. She’s caring for her mother who has Lewy Body Dementia and it’s just so demanding that, for the time being, Kathy has prioritized caring for mom over Sunday morning church.

The thing is, some Christians might have an expectation that someone like Kathy should do what it takes to attend church every week. Jesus was dealing with something similar when he healed the lame man at the pool of Bethesda.

Jesus’ Sabbath Interrupted

You might remember in our last few posts from the book of John we saw how the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were trying to figure out who it was that healed the man who had been lame for thirty-eight years. Initially the man himself didn’t know who healed him because Jesus melted into the crowd immediately afterwards. But later Jesus finds the man and delivers a message. (If you’re interested you can read about that message here.) During that conversation the healed man learns Jesus’ identity and that’s where we pick up our story. Here’s what happens next:

After learning it was Jesus who healed him, the man went to the religious leaders and told them it was Jesus.

The religious leaders were angry and offended, because Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath. In fact, according to this passage, one reason they were trying to destroy Jesus was because he was helping people on the Sabbath day. (John 5:15-17)

The Sabbath Was Made For You

So what does that mean for you and for me? What about our Sabbath? Well as you’ll see in a soon to be published blog post, I’m a huge fan of keeping the Sabbath. Kathy and I are working toward a solution so she can attend church regularly as she normally does, even while her mom is with us. That’s because we believe Christ doesn’t just want us to exist but he wants us to flourish and thrive. And toward that end, he has a best possible rhythm of life in mind for us. (see Mark 2:27) And that rhythm includes the Sabbath. The Sabbath was created for us, for our benefit. There are even a number of scientific reasons to keep the Sabbath (you’ll learn about those in the future post I mentioned.) The Sabbath is good on so many levels. That’s the day we rest. That’s the day we devote our hearts, souls, and minds to Jesus. That’s the day we seek community in Christ.

Keep The Sabbath, But…

All that being said though, there’s a time when it’s important to prioritize what might feel un-Sabbath-like. It’s important to prioritize human need over that part of the religious creed that is the Sabbath.

Jesus did that when he healed the man who was lame for thirty-eight years, on the Sabbath day.

The family from the Cherokee Bible Church did that when they stayed at the doctor’s office with their child and missed their Wednesday night church service.

Kathy does that when she cares for mom and misses Sunday morning church.

Jesus took action to show God’s love for people, even when it disrupted his Sabbath.

You can too. And it pleases Christ when we do.

(You might also like Love Like Jesus–Even If It Disrupts Your Sabbath: Mark 3:3-6)

Image via Wikimedia Commons

4 Comments on “When It’s Important To Miss Church

  1. Pingback: Imitating Maravich | God Running

  2. It’s ok that she misses Sunday church Kurt because the Creator set up His Sabbath His way, but man changed it. Why? His Word is forever settled in Heaven, never to be changed! Wouldn’t you agree? And yet it’s ok to worship on Sunday at a congregation but it’s not the Sabbath.
    Exo 20:8 Thou shalt remember the sabbath day, to sanctify it.
    Exo 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work;
    Exo 20:10 but the seventh day shall be the sabbath of the LORD thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manslave, nor thy maidslave, nor thy beast, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates;
    Exo 20:11 for in six days the LORD made the heavens and earth, the sea, and all that is in them and rested the seventh day; therefore, the LORD blessed the sabbath day and sanctified it.
    Even for the seventh day there is obviously room for taking care of the sick, binding up wounds, and helping a neighbor or animal in need.
    Sabbath is considered a day of rest-no work, relaxation, fun with the family, setting that day aside to commune with the Father, study the scriptures and participate in Bible Studies, even in our homes. Granted people in hospitals, police, firemen, etc. have to work on that day. It is considered a “mitzvah” or good deed to help one in time of need. Remember the days of old when stores were closed on the sabbath Sunday? Well, that went by the wayside didn’t it? Now they work both days still violating His Sabbath.
    How is it that Constantine made the first day of the week a day of worship confusing it with God’s sabbaths? Yet, should we not worship him with our lives each and every day? Just sayin’
    We need to just follow His Word and do what Yeshua/Jesus did; he kept the Sabbath just as He delivered it at Mt. Sinai and His festivals. After all, truth be told, nearly all of our holidays are from pagan sources.

  3. There is care for people called ” Respite” care. They come to your home and sit with your loved one so you can have time off. Some even will stay for a weekend or longer, they are paid. To find one in your area look for your ” Area Agency On Aging” they also have other resources available to help families. Some ” Respite” care is also just called sitters. I took care of my Mom and Dad and don’t regret one moment of it, God blessed me to be able to. So I hope my info blesses you both and thank you for your awesome Devotionals. God bless. Cj

    • Thanks for the information Claudia. Our experience has been the same. Along with mom, Christ’s Spirit seems to have arrived in our household also. We’re thankful for the opportunity to care for her. And I’m thankful for your information too. I pray our Lord blesses you!

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