As Jordon Cooper has recorded and Scott McKnight rightly reminds us, it is not just the mega churches that are canceling church on Christmas Sunday. There are a large percentage of all evangelical churches doing the same. The reason? – our people want to be with their families. That means traveling or staying home. When you don’t see time as shaping you, but rather as a quantity to be used for maximal efficiency it makes sense to stay home on Christmas and use the services during the week to have maximal impact for both for information distributing (sermons) and evangelizing. Of course there’s a reason why we meet on Sunday – we are rehearsing the resurrection of our Lord every first day of the week. But we evangelicals have no sense of rehearsal, re-living, of ordering and time. The ancient church year rehearses the life of Christ, God’s Coming (Advent), Revealing (Epiphany), Suffering and Redeeming (Lent), Victory (Easter) and New Life (Post Easter) and giving of the His Spirit and the forming of His People (Pentecost). Its rhythms and movements shape us into His life and where He is taking Time and History. We evangelicals don’t get this. I am an evangelical who grew up never having a sense of time … my raging life desires and impulses never had any place to be ordered into another order and pattern that truly invited me in to submit everything, my body, soul, family and future into His Time.
So believe it or not, I am saying let’s get off the mega churches! And those of us emerging, can we seek ways to invite people into God’s Time? I recommend Robert Webber’s Ancient Future Time.
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