Sunday, May 29, 2016
A long time ago when I was a child, folks wore what they called their "Sunday Best" to church. As I recall, I had my school clothes and my church clothes. I even had one pair of shoes for everyday wear and a pair of dress shoes for church. The idea was that the best you had was worn to the house of the Lord on Sunday. I have noticed today that "Sunday Best" has changed. While some still wear a shirt and tie, or maybe even a dress to church, so many others wear a new looking pair of jeans and what I call a Sunday T-shirt. The Sunday T-Shirt usually has the name of the church attended somewhere on it, a scripture verse, or some Christian message.
Other things have also changed. In my younger days, 11:00 AM on Sunday was the holy hour for worship. It could be done at no other time. Today, most churches have several worship services during the Sunday morning hours and the one offered at 11:00 AM is often not as well attended as the earlier services with contemporary music. The holy hour has disappeared which is not necessarily a bad thing. But, it is not just the hours of worship which have changed, but also the styles. Once every church thought worship could not be offered without an organ and now a must is a guitar and a set of drums. Indeed, much has changed.
The church has weathered and adapted to a lot of change in the centuries of its existence. Some like the ones mentioned are really rather superficial and are not going to undermine the core values of the life of the church. But, not all the changes being pushed toward the church are so superficial. Some have the potential to threaten both the church's message and its unique place in the world. The church may be defined and understood in many ways, but its uniqueness has always been in the fact that it has been grounded not in what the society around it declares to be important, but what the Word of God declares to be as unchangeable as eternity itself.