Nowadays it has become fashionable to not only dismiss the assemblies as unimportant, but to talk about anyone who thinks they are as “Sunday morning Christians” at best, and Pharisaical hypocrites at worst. That was not true in my family. In my house at least, the assemblies were object lessons: if you won’t do this easy thing for the Lord, will you ever do anything more difficult?
My parents lived their lives the rest of the week as godly servants of others, visiting the sick, cooking and carrying food to those who needed it, showing hospitality, sending financial support to preachers in need, buying supplies for poor churches they had heard about, and keeping themselves pure from the worldliness that surrounded them, even when it made them unpopular with their extended family, neighbors, and co-workers. And they also taught their children to follow in their steps, children who have now taught 9 grandchildren, beginning early on, that gathering with God’s people is important. All the accountable ones are faithful Christians seven days a week.
Do you think God’s people have ever thought that the assembly rituals were the only thing there was to their religion? The Law of Moses was intricately bound up in the everyday lives of God’s people. It wasn’t just “Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy,” and nothing else. Sacrifices were required for various times in their lives, the birth of children, death in the family and other times of uncleanness, sin offerings, and thanksgiving other than the mandated feast days. Harvest time meant remembering to leave the corners and the missed crop behind for the poor. It meant time for tithing the increase. The Law pervaded their lives and these things were done any and every day of the week.
Even in Jesus’ time the people led lives of worship. The Pharisees fasted twice a week, not on the Sabbath but on Monday and Thursday, ordinary weekdays. Jewish families lined the doors and walls of their houses with scriptures—the original post-it notes. Their lives revolved around the feast days, which demanded making extensive travel plans and saving money for the trip all year long. They had rabbis in their homes to ask them questions and hear them teach. That’s how Jesus often wound up among them.
All these people worshipped throughout the week, but it wasn’t the instant cure for hypocrisy some seem to think, was it? Many of those labeled hypocrites by the Lord looked down on others for not being as enlightened as they were. Sort of like folks today who think they are better than anyone who dares utter the phrase “Sunday worship service.”
Perhaps these people should get off their high horse and follow the Lord’s example. Even if they don’t think the assemblies are important, Jesus did. Where was the first place we find him seeing to “His Father’s business?” He met with God’s people in the synagogues all the time, and synagogue worship was only a tradition, not something included in the Law. He attended the feast days, including the one which was simply a civil holiday. He taught the apostles to do the same. Paul went to the synagogues expecting to find there the best prospects for the gospel—imagine that! Too bad some of our more informed brethren couldn’t be there to teach him better.
Of course Sunday morning isn’t all there is to it. God never meant it to be, but don’t become an unrighteous judge of people who believe it is important. That’s how a lot of us learned about serving God, not only by being there for the Bible study, but by putting it first over every other worldly thing in our lives, even if they weren’t sinful things. Babes must crawl before they can run.
Hebrews commands us to consider one another to provoke one another to love and good works. That’s what we do when we meet together. It isn’t love to look on your brethren with contempt, and that’s what I am seeing in these prideful attitudes of instant dismissal when anyone speaks of our gatherings as “worship.”
Seems to me, someone needs to be provoked a little more.
Acts 1:13,14; 2:1; 2:42; 2:46; 6:1-3; 14:27; 20:7; 1 Cor 5:4; 11:17-28; all of chapter 14; Heb 10:23-25—the reasons we gather. I will let you choose the one you think is most important. Better yet—read them all.