A Snowy Sunday

I have not always been a pastor.
 
My family heritage, both maternal and paternal, includes successful entrepreneurs. I grew up in a culture of business ventures.
 
My life has included being a contractor, builder, counselor, social worker, teacher of high school and college, school administrator, consultant and editor/publisher.
 
I learned in the commercial world that Monday is crucial to a week’s activity. Weekend over, Monday is a fresh initiative, a new start. Assessment of last week and projections for the new week need action. Contacts with other businesses and ordering of materials and supplies must be initiated. Employee assessment and assignment of tasks and goals is done.
 
To lose Monday in the business world can be the loss of a whole week.
 
As a pastor I learned that Sunday is the anchor day of the week for Kingdom work. Sunday is crucial for Christian churches. How a congregation thinks and acts on a Sunday will determine the character of the Body. All the church activities of the week are wrapped around what happens on Sunday.
 
God ordered the Sabbath. He created all things. He made man and woman and ordered a day of rest from labor. The Sabbath in the Old Testament was Saturday and still is to those who follow Mosaic Law. Christians in the New Testament moved the Day of Rest to Sunday—the day of Christ’s Resurrection.
 
God’s intention of rest from labor was care for the body and time to worship the Creator. The biblical definition of Sunday is not to do personal tasks and have fun. Sundays are not to be selfish engagements in “I” and “ME” feel-good ventures. Sundays are not an hour in church and then off to treat the day like other WORK days.
 
As a pastor my efforts with staff and pastoral leadership are dedicated to teaching that all we do in six days is to be wrapped up and presented to God in worship on the seventh day. 
 
God with his own finger carved stone tablets for the Israelites giving them Ten Commandments as laws for holiness (Exodus 20). Law #4 was: “Honor the Sabbath and keep it holy.”
 
Sunday is not only the seventh day of the week. It is also the anchor day for the rest of the week. In my own life I have a commitment and longing to be in corporate worship on Sunday. The number of times I have missed being in corporate worship in my life probably total less than the number of my fingers and toes.
 
My parents had great devotion to Sunday worship. I remember the family car being a two-door Plymouth coupe. Mom, Dad and seven children more than once traveled 30 miles one-way through snow to Sunday worship.
 
As a pastor I made a commitment to NEVER CLOSE the church doors on a Sunday, and we have not done so in 37+ years. Is this for my psyche?  NO!  In yesterday’s services, the congregation shared multiple reasons why we never close. They ranged from personal to our witness to our community. 
 
I have never been alone in church on a Sunday. In fact, many testify that they remember these services as some of the most wonderful times we have had in worship. Yesterday was no exception.
 
To our knowledge no one has ever been injured going to or coming from Covenant on a snowy day.  Having the church doors open is not an invitation for people to take risks. It is a statement for rescue vehicle operators and those who would drive by that Sundays are sacred, and there is a place of prayer. 
 
Having church doors open is a declaration of worship. Lights on. Heated sanctuary. A retreat from weather storms and a retreat from the storms of life. Fellowship. Prayer. Tithing and giving. 
 
Many people from other churches have been our guests on snowy days. This past Sunday a lady visitor stood and thanked us for being open: “I would not have had a place to worship if your church had been closed.”  Another testified that he always looks forward to joining with us when his church is closed on snowy days.
 
Covenant is steady. We build solid. We think and act strategically. We care about holy living, winning people to Jesus and making disciples.
 
Yesterday teachers were prepared. Between services Dennis Lambert taught a class for adults. Tobey Bouch taught teens. The Bible Quiz Team also met, and there was children’s church. We had inspiring praise and worship music and fellowship before an interactive sermon. (The entire service can be experienced at Covenantchurch.net or on Facebook).
 
Yes, our building program has taken longer than expected, but we also recognize that we have done far more than we planned. Recent changes and modifications are eradicating differences of OLD and NEW. When FINISH happens the updating of OLD will make the entire complex seem as if it were built at the same time and be incredibly pleasant and functional.
 
I pen this letter on a Monday. Being in corporate worship yesterday is fuel to my spirit. Josh and I will leave home by about 7:30 AM for the church offices. 
 
The TEAM will arrive. We will celebrate that on Saturday morning we had 72 people in leadership training. We will celebrate that we once again we’re open for 100+ people in two services on a snowy Sunday. We will be making plans for how the FINISH will enable us to launch new ministries for the congregation and the community. We will also be helping to bring FINISH to pass as quickly as possible.
 
Your faithfulness, prayers and generous giving are valued. Together we can do so much more! Our church family is a witness to the entire community. 
 
Let us be bold and rejoice that Sunday is coming. Regardless of weather the doors of Covenant will be open!
 
Much love
Pastor Bare
Hebrews 10:25

Jason Luber