Worshiping with Saint Mattress, and Father Pillow
July 28, 2010 - We all have reasons why we don't go to church on a particular day, or for weeks, months, or even years on end.
When someone asks us were we go to church we might even say that we have private worship, or that we were too busy.
We might even say that we needed a break from worship, or as I have heard some say, We worship at St. Mattress, and Father Pillow… but then I think about these words from Hebrews 10:24-25, And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.
Luther once said that we break the third commandment when we do not attend public worship. We might also be worshipping another God when we skip church.
That is exactly what the people who told me that they worshipped at St. Mattress and Father Pillow, were really saying… that their God was "sleeping-in" on Sunday morning.
Few could really fathom the number of people who say that they cannot come to church on Sunday, because that is the only day that they can sleep in. What would they say if you asked "why don't you sleep in on Monday, or Tuesday, or any of the other days of the week?"
Invariably they would say, "Oh, but I have to work that day." It would seem by their comment that their boss would not tolerate their tardiness, if they were to sleep-in.
But, I have to wonder if God desirers their absence any more than their boss? You might also ask if I am trying to make you feel guilty…
But I don't have to, you will do that all on your own. You already know what is right and what is wrong.
When it comes right down to it, when we skip out on God, we are sinning… period. It really does not matter if we are breaking the third commandment, if we have skipped worship because we have another God, or if we are sleeping in.
In God's eyes, all are sins, and they are all equal. They all cause us to deserve eternal death.
Harsh punishment? Well, given that God told us not to sin, or we would die, I suspect that since we were warned, just like our boss tells us not to sleep-in on a work day or we will be fired, that the punishment is fair.
We are God's children whether we believe in Him or not, and since we are His, He alone gets to set the punishment. Whether we like the punishment or not, it is reality, just like your boss will fire you if you are late for work. Your boss won't tolerate your sleeping-in, and neither does God.
But unlike your boss, who after firing you, would not be likely to hire you back, our heavenly Father welcomes you back into the family of God, when you repent of your sinfulness, and believe on His only Son, Jesus Christ. God would never say to us, "Oh, you messed up, you can't come back no matter what."
Instead, our Heavenly Father welcomes us back into His fold when we repent of our sins… no matter if we break the third commandment, or have another God that we have put before our Father in Heaven, or if it is something else.
Repenting, and believing on Christ Jesus as our only Savior, we are restored to sonship with Christ, by Christ's Death and Resurrection.
What a wonderful Father we have. When we do wrong, he gives us a second chance, in fact, He daily continues to give us opportunities to repent and receive His forgiveness until He calls us out of this life… He really does want us to amend our sinful lives and live in Heaven, but do we?… or would we rather worship Saint Mattress and Father Pillow and not go to heaven?
I know what God wants. God the Father would have you repent and be saved unto Eternal Life forever, and ever. Repent, believe on Jesus Christ, and live eternally with Him!
The Rev. Todd Kelly is pastor of Christ Lutheran Church.