What are your plans for the upcoming months? With school ending for a brief time, many families use this time for vacation. Others get involved in summer leagues, swimming lessons, the 4-H fair, and the like. School may be on hiatus, but summer is far from a slow time of the year.
But while our children get a break from school, and while we get a break from certain routines that take place during the school year, it behooves us to remember that “there is no rest for the wicked.” Satan, the world, and our sinful flesh do not cease their assault on our souls even though we might be on vacation.
Dear brothers and sisters: even though this time of year is busy, do not “take a vacation” from church. Our Lord has given all that you need to support you from “the whelming flood” (My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less, LSB 575) that seeks to overcome you; He gives you His body and blood, strengthens you for the daily battles you face, even when you are outside your ‘normal routine.’ You need to be in the Lord’s house receiving His gifts, and we – your church family – need you in church with us. We support each other through all of life’s troubles.
Being in church often (even on vacation or in the midst of life’s busy-ness) is not something we should expect from only our pastors or church leaders: it is something we should expect of ourselves. “You are to prepare yourselves… by your individual and corporate study of the Word of God and the faith drawn from it as it has been delivered to us in the Small Catechism. Holiness of life and obedience to Christ are expected of all members of the congregations; it is especially important that you show yourselves, by word and example, to be faithful to (Jesus) in service and Christian devotion.” (Rite of Installation for Church Officers and Instructors in the Faith).
How odd it would be if we showed up to the Lord’s house one weekend and the pastor wasn’t there. Or the organist. Not because something was wrong, but because life got busy and they just didn’t make it. Brothers, sisters: let us hold ourselves accountable even as we hold our church leaders accountable for hearing the Word of God. Each of us have received the 3rd Commandment, “Remember the Sabbath Day by keeping it holy;” there are no ‘free-passes’ regarding the 3rd commandment. The Lord expects faithfulness in your attendance.
But as we each have received that commandment, so also we each have received the Lord’s promise of blessing. The Lord invites you each week to His house. The banquet table and feast of righteousness has been prepared for you; a seat has been reserved with your name on it. Come and partake in His gifts, and receive your forgiveness and joy.
May the Lord bless your summer and all your travels.