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Do you want a more restful Sabbath?
It seems that everyone in the church wants to experience church service at the standard time of 9:30 or 10:00 to noon each Sabbath. Whenever a pastor of a multiple church district asks one of his churches to delay services until the afternoon, the members of that church resist and refuse. The pastor should simply preach two sermons on Sabbath morning with a flying drive between locations. Why should we, usually the smaller church, have to give up our privileges to benefit the other church?
I attended a small church in southern Indiana for a year. We met in the afternoon. And I experienced benefits. No longer did our family have to get up early to get to church on time. With church starting in the afternoon, our young daughter could wake up whenever it was natural for her to do so. We didn't compete for the bathroom mirror or shower. We didn't rush breakfast. By the time for services in the afternoon we were ready for church.
And would you believe it? This small church in southern Indiana not only had church on Sabbath afternoon, it also chose to have the preaching service come first. Out 5 year old daughter could sit quitely in church when she hadn't already been there an hour or more. And she hadn't become excited with kindergarten activities. When the preaching service was over, she was of course ready for some movement. Sabbath School was the break that both she and her parents needed. We enjoyed two restful services.
And when both services were over, we didn't have to rush home for Sabbath dinner. We had already eaten a good brunch. We could go another couple of hours before we needed to eat again. We were already at the church. We were available for witnessing activities. We didn't have to go home (for us, 30 miles) and then come back for witnessing work. We didn't do nearly as much lay activities sleeping as is common for most of us attending church in the morning. And on winter evenings, when we finished witnessing, Sabbath being over or nearly so, we were together already for a social activity.
No dragging oneself out of bed. No bickering rushing about in the morning. Breakfast/brunch for a change. Little effort trying to settle down a child during the preaching service. Ready for witnessing. Ready for meeting with friends afterwards. Or already in town for after Sabbath shopping or play. (And today even more so, I find many people drive by other churches to go to their own. There's a lot of driving longer distances to church today.)
What do you think? Would you prefer a more liesurely Sabbath morning? Would you enjoy not having to fight so much with your kids during the 2nd service which when following Sabbath school is a long time for small children to stay quiet, dressed up, and mostly inactive? And maybe you enjoy the excuse to skip witnessing, but do you also feel that perhaps you should do more? Respond with your experiences or preferences.
Stop! and Do