"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

18 January 2015

Freedom to Stay Home on a Sunday!

I had to chuckle during my morning devotions today.

You see, it's Sunday.  The day my family typically goes to church....usually the 11 a.m. service but sometimes (like if we have kayaking or hiking planned in the summer) the 9 a.m. service.  Sometimes we even go to the Saturday evening service at 5 pm followed by a light dinner and a movie night.

But I woke up with a mild sore throat and headache so I popped Tylenol into me after a cold glass of juice and told my husband I was going to watch the service online.  My teenager joined me on the living room couch in time for the sermon. I was feeling a wee bit guilty for not schlepping out to the body of Christ congregated just 5 miles from my home.

And this is the devotional I read after the service that God wanted to remind me of:

"This is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men----as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.
 ~I Peter 2:15 & 16~

I actually read from verses 13-25 but these two stood out to me.

And it struck me.  The reason I was feeling "guilty" is because of how the Christian culture in my growing up years, and even in the church my  husband and I first joined when we were starting our family (a different one than the interdenominational/Evangelical one we are in now since 2005), thought of as Sunday or the Sabbath.  I was raised to believe you "had" to go to church for your Sabbath (um...where in the Bible does it say that??  it says to keep the Sabbath day holy.  "Sabbath"  means a day of rest...of no work.  I was led to believe by well-meaning Christians that you must go to church on Sundays. Good grief, there were times when as a family we felt led to get away for a long weekend of  camping and reflecting in the quietness of nature and yet there would always be someone from church who just didn't "get it". Who had to question us again and again about why we weren't at "church".

But.....NO!  We have liberty as Christ-followers!!  We are not to follow a list of legalistic laws that are derived from men/women's minds.  We are to follow Christ and His ways and Scripture.  

Yes, we have liberty...freedom.  Of course this doesn't mean we get to do whatever we want.  We do have God-given boundaries for a reason.

But in our freedom....in this true liberty...we can follow Christ joyfully!!  And yet we are to be "slaves to Christ"....bondservants.  There IS freedom in that!

So....I happily put on my comfy leggings, thick fleece socks, a plain flannel shirt and minimal make-up and hung out on my couch all morning sipping steaming coffee and popping Vitamin C tabs all while listening and watching my pastor preach the Word of God to us via the internet.

What freedom I have in my soul when I follow what God wants me to do.

I no longer feel guilty for staying home.  I already know that sometimes my best worship and "God times" are on a mountain top.  I know that there have been many Sabbaths/Sundays where I am doing so much housework or running so many errands that it doesn't even feel like I am resting.  And that is not what God wants or commands from us!! 

Sometimes my Sabbath might be on the mountain or in the woods.

Sometimes, like today, it is in the comfort of my own home on a dreary winter day wearing flannel.

Liberty........embrace it!  And live...........


Simply Linda said...

What a great post. Hey, I found those fleece leggings at Target! Wow--I was speechless..hubby says the Tractor Supply has them, but he didn't know what they were, wink. Blessings

Faith said...

lol that's awesome, Linda! I bought mine at Kohls and Marshalls because our Target was sold out of them when I was looking. aren't they great????

Susanne said...

I too, skipped attending a church service today because I wasn't feeling well. I felt super guilty at first, too. But your post is right on. There is liberty in Christ and I don't have to feel guilty.

Kathy said...

Thanks Faith for this message and your larger lesson about freedom in Christ. My husband and our family visited a church very much like your current one in Erie, PA, at Christmas, and I was surprised to learn the church cancels all services the weekend after Christmas and encourages everyone to "worship at home" - it's a much needed break and rest for staff and volunteers. I thought this was a really nice touch. My own church encourages the Sunday School to take the week off after big holidays, which affords me the opportunity to stay home and rest, or go and just receive - I've done both.

Dianna said...

Great post, Faith. Our Christian liberty does give us much freedom from what man thinks we should or should not do. Thank you so much for sharing. I'm glad you were able to stay in today and get some rest.

Melanie said...

Thanks, Faith for this post. There are times I've felt that guilt as well and this makes me feel better. I hope you feel better and I'm so glad you had that time of rest.

LittleWomen21 said...

I love this verse! it's sort of paradox - freedom and yet being a bondservant. If I remember that correctly a bond servant is like a willing slave. Our church has moved away from legalism to freedom too. I think if a church gives you freedom instead of guilt you will love it all the more.

Barbara H. said...

I feel conflicted about this because I do actually get more from sermons when I listen at home, and because if I do stay home sick, I feel so much more rested than if I went to church. But the Bible tells us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together, so I generally go even when I don't feel like it (not in a medical sense, but when my flesh just doesn't want to make the effort. Sometimes it is really hard for me to discern when I need a rest and when my flesh is being lazy, lol!) And then on those occasional Sundays when I am not feeling well, I just listen to something online and bask in the rest. Sometimes I stay home for family issues as well - when my oldest son is here or my sisters and step-dad. They'll go with me in the morning but that's big for them.

Our current church also does not have its usual midweek services before Christmas and New Year's Day, and only one morning service the Sunday before Christmas and on Easter. I really appreciate that on those busy holidays weekends, there is time to worship but also time with family.

I did a post a while back on "Why Go to Church," but it was aimed more at those who rarely go and don't think it's important, not for those who miss an occasional Sunday (and really, I wish when people were sick they WOULD stay home and not share their germs. lol!) But if you have time and feel inclined, it's here: https://barbarah.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/why-go-to-church/. If not, I won't be offended. :-)