“A Season for Worship”

How does the phrase go? “If you don’t like the weather in Wisconsin, just wait 30 minutes.” As I write, it was just this past Saturday that we had a 30 minute snow storm—in October—nearly whiteout conditions—with accumulation (at least for a few minutes). Exaggeration aside, the seasons are changing, and so I want to remind the congregation of an alternative worship opportunity. For a few years now your congregation had held a mid-week, mid-day Holy Communion worship service, Thursdays, 1:30 p.m. I know it is a foreign idea for some people, so I would like to explain it and invite those for whom it might be helpful.

For many people, Sunday morning is THE time to worship. They have never thought of worship at another time, unless it was Christmas Eve or Ash Wednesday. Even Easter happens on a Sunday! In fact, that is why the Church gathers on Sunday—for a weekly celebration of the Resurrection, a mini-Easter each week. But the Scriptures do not demand a particular day for worship. As the Apostle Paul reminds us, “Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord” (Rom. 14:5-6). Paul is open for “all days to be alike,” and recommends that whatever day is observed, it is in honor of the Lord. We read in Hebrews, “Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (10:24-25).To say it another way, keeping the Third Commandment on some day ought to be more important than what day the Third Commandment is kept. Luther reminds us that keeping the commandment is about making time for God’s Word. It is about “meeting together” as a faith community around the Gospel preached and the Sacrament distributed.

As we grow older, impediments to doing those things that are important to us continue to grow. It gets harder and harder to do what we used to do easily. Worship may be one of those things. Mornings can be difficult with early routines taking longer, and medicines taking effect. Sunday mornings in winter do not assist us. Sunrise is later. Roads and walkways are more slippery. Cold weather just makes it more difficult to get around.

Acknowledging these impediments, we have been having the Thursday 1:30 p.m. Holy Communion Service at Saint John Luther Church for a number of years. Why that day and time? On weekdays, school days, the clearing of snow from roads is expedited. The sun is higher for better visibility, melting, or warmer temperatures. The time after lunch allows for Meals on Wheels or other dietary routines. The service is a spoken Holy Communion, familiar words from the usual Sunday morning service, but no singing. There is Scripture from the daily readings and the gospel, and a sermon. There is the sacrament of Holy Communion. And there is a community of faith, a small core of people who have recognized the value of this alternative worship service.

As the seasons change, both in the weather and in our lives, I encourage your consideration of this alternative. I pray that you will not come to a time when you are truly unable to worship and say, “I wish I could gather with my church for worship again.” This is the day the Lord has made, whatever day it is. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Bond

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