Our worship gathering was cancelled today. It was a call I made last night after looking at the weather predictions for this morning (a snow storm of about a foot of snow, with wind = yuck). In the 14 years that I have had the privilege of serving as pastor of Église Renaissance Church, I can count the number of times we have canceled our Sunday worship on one hand (actually, on just a few fingers). It is not a decision that is easy to make, nor one I like to do.
One time, years ago, our family got stuck in a snow storm on our way home from Quebec City (3 hour drive from our home) on a Saturday evening. We had to get a hotel just outside of Quebec City. We woke up early Sunday morning and arrived for worship here in Rawdon just minutes before it began. I grabbed my regular Sunday stock and rushed to open up for worship. Due to time constraints, I preached that morning wearing the same clothes that I wore the day before.
Why share this? Simple. I am missing the church today. Gathering with my brothers and sisters each Sunday is a discipline that has been a part of my life since I was a young child. I love the church. I do not love it because it is perfect, but I love it because of who we worship and who we are as His people.
Some might claim that I feel this way out of guilt, or because of religious routine, or out of a feeling of duty as a pastor. But those that might think this would only do so because they do not know me very well. See, believing in and following Jesus is being a part of His people (His church). In the words of David Platt,
“to identify your life with the person of Christ is to join your life with the people of Christ. To surrender your life to his commands is to commit your life to his church. It is biblically, spiritually, and practically impossible to be a disciple of Christ apart from total devotion to a family of Christians.” – Follow Me, p.150
So, because of God’s saving work of grace in my life, I have a deep love for the brothers and sisters that He has allowed me to join. I love them because He has placed a love for them in my heart. I love worshipping with them each Sunday. The encouragement, edification, and mutual love that we share is amazing. We are a family of sinners saved by God’s grace in Christ that He is transforming day by day and week by week. We are not perfect. Actually, we are far from it. But our bond is the common truth we have embraced in Christ, and our desire to make His name known to those around us and to the nations.
Many critics of the church argue that church is to be more than Sunday worship. I would agree with that statement 100%. That is why we seek during the week to gather in small groups (formal and informal). So, the church is more than Sunday worship. But we must also be clear, it is not less than Sunday worship (or whatever day a church decides to gather).
So, today I am missing the church. Not the service. But, the church. The gathered believers. The people of God, saved by the grace of God, through faith in the Son of God. So, if you are in our area, and you believe in Jesus and desire to follow Him, come join us on Sundays (and other times as well). It would be an honor to have you be a part with us. And maybe, just maybe, when the next snow storm causes to cancel our Sunday worship, you can say with me, “I am missing the church today.”