Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Oxymoron: Closing a church on Christmas day because it falls on Sunday

Give me a break!

If you know me at all, you probably know I am not a big fan of big churches to begin with, but this has nothing to do with my dislike of big churches and everything to do with the message something like this sends out to the world, be it coming from a big church or a small church: it does not matter!

I understand the attendance issues but I am also a big believer that if even one person wants to come to a church service, the church should be open for them to hear the Word, otherwise we have set ourselves up for failure in the Great Commission. How do we tell someone it is important that Jesus was born and God is first priority and then say, "well I think we don't really have to have church on Christmas... I know we have been talking about it the past few weeks and all and it is still very important but we know people will be busy opening presents and going to see family we don't want to bother them with church". How do we preach on the importance of Christmas and then cancel church.. doesn't cancelling church kind of imply that it is not important to think about God on Christmas... what's next? I can see it: "And now for our benediction: May God help you in all your Christmas shopping and one final announcement: don't forget Church will be closed next Sunday night because the mall is still open and we wouldn't want Church to get in your way". Which brings me to my next point: I have run out of words to explain my outrage, the irony and contradiction of closing Church on Christmas day, for further assistance, go to Church this Christmas; e-mail me if you need assistance finding one that is open near you.

My strong opinion on this is kind of ingrained in my upbringing. In Catholic "culture" Christmas is probably one of the days of highest attendance throughout the year (up there with Easter and Good Friday). People that don't go to Church the whole year go on these days whether it falls on Sunday or not. As a matter of fact, I am sure the Catholic churches near us back home have many plans for Christmas day this year more than others because having Christmas on Sunday is a blessing and implies a huge influx of people.

I haven't been Catholic for many years for many reasons I will not go into (we can discuss this over e-mail if you would like), but I do admire their position in this matter, granted they have benefits such as a leader who is entirely devoted (exclusive from any other demands) to their Church community and that helps, but they have been able to relay the message and teaching to the community of believers and that is admirable in our days. I am not commending anyyone to convert, I do have many disagreements with important parts of Catholic doctrine that in my opinion go against what the Bible teaches. I am, however, exhorting our leadership to think twice before making decisions about opening the Church based on attendance. Instead of considering whether the Church should be open or close, maybe the energy should be spent trying to figure out how to bring more people to Church despite the social drive that works against us. Maybe we should leave our comfort zones and figure out why it works for the Catholic church and not for us. I think this news should be a wake up call to all believers to consider not just whether or not to go to Church this Christmas, but also, what other things we do that might send out a confusing message to our leadership and to the world, and what can we do about them as we approach the beginning of a new year.


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