Dee Bowman | via The Hickory Heights Messenger (Lewisburg, TN)
Sunday is special. It’s the day of His resurrection. It’s the day of devotion to God, a day for spiritual service and rejoicing. It’s the day God ordained for worship and service. It’s the day when we keep the memorial of Jesus’ death, the Lord’s Supper. It’s a day for singing and praying and being together. It’s a day for spiritual feasting.
Sometimes I think we take the Lord’s Day for granted. We become so familiar with it that we fail to give it the thought and emphasis it deserves. If we’re not careful, it can become plain, ordinary.
Please allow me a few observations on how you can make Sunday even more special. These are suggestions, not rules; but they are worth consideration, methinks.
If Sunday is a special day, it deserves some special things. Appropriate dress is one of them. Now, please be advised that no one here is demanding a dress code be observed, but it just makes sense that the importance and significance of the Lord’s Day is not made special by excessive casualness. We should not be casual in our observation of the various blessings of the Lord’s day and it just makes good sense that, if things are to be done, “decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40), that proper attire is one of them. Incidentally, it might interest you to know that the Greek word translated with our word “decently” is defined as a “denoting gracefully, becomingly, in a seemly manner” (Vine). Sometimes it even means “honorable.”
It just makes sense to get here on time. First of all, it indicates interest and concern. No one is advocating that we “tail-gate,” getting ready for the service, but being here in a timely manner makes lots of things possible: 1) you have time to get settled and ready for worship or study; 2) you have time to get your mind focused so that when the services commence your mind is already receptive to what is about to occur; 3) you have time to divest yourself of any thoughts or anxieties that might preclude you getting the best from the services. And all it takes is a little planning. How hard can it be to be here a little early?
Show people you’re happy to be here. When you look like it’s a chore to attend, it has an effect on everybody concerned, visitors especially. A sad countenance makes the day dreary. It makes such a difference when people smile. Wrinkles disappear when faces light up. Attitudes, both yours and theirs, are affected when you smile at folks. Actually, a smile can change someone’s day, bring some sunlight into an otherwise dreary time for somebody. Solomon said it well (Proverbs 15:13): “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance; but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” Show people a merry heart. Smile.
Few things are more enjoyable than a vibrant and cheerful greeting. It makes people feel good about being here. And what’s more, it makes you feel good about being here, too. “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth; and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” (Proverbs 15:23). A word spoken in due season is seldom better used than when you give someone reason to believe that they are welcome, that you genuinely care for them. Greet the older people, but greet the kids, too. It’s good, too, to leave the place where you sit and greet some folks on the other side of the building. It’ll do them good that you came over.
Participation is an indication of interest. It means, as the word indicates, that you are taking part—part-taking. The Lord’s day is a good day to divest yourself of worldly things and think on the good things in the gospel, to get involved in spiritual matters, matters of the soul. Meditation means that we give our minds over to things that have a greater value, things that are really substantive, not just temporary. The Lord’s day is a time for contemplation of who we are, how well we are doing spiritually, how our course to heaven is proceeding, what we need to do to make course corrections, and where our real devotions lie. “I thought on my ways and turned my feet unto thy testimonies” (Psalm 119:59). Be part of the whole service and you will bring a satisfaction to your soul.
Take time to be holy. Need more be said about that? I think not.
You realize, of course, that nobody can make rules of the things I have suggested. They are just that—suggestions; and it’s up to you what you do with them. But they work. I’ve seen them work.