Wounding the god of Comfort in the Burbs
Each fall impassioned football fanatics descend upon their couches or favorite pubs on Saturday afternoons, clutching an ice cold beverage and sporting their team gear. For hours they are transfixed before the big screen, emotions and vocal volume rising and falling with each gut-wrenching snap. As the day wraps down, these warriors of fandom strip off their team colors, and climb into bed looking forward to, with great anticipation, doing the exact same thing for a different team (or perhaps a fantasy league) in t-minus 13 hours.
There are no complaints. No gripes. No inquires as to why we must do this on Saturday when we already do it on Sunday. Instead, because of the unrivaled, non-sensical affection that these fans have for the sport and their team, they enthusiastically pipe money and reorient their time around these prolonged seasons of worship.
So, I have no intention of berating my fellow fans over their insatiable appetite for football. I am quite the pigskin enthusiast myself, and do not view my affection for the game or allegiance to my teams as God-degrading. How though can we legitimately claim Jesus’ as King while following the script above (perhaps not with football, but with other interests) and then gripe about a Sunday evening of worship as the inquiries drip from our lips: we already do this on Sunday mornings…why must we return in the evening as well?
While there are hopefully few who would actually grumble about an evening set aside for worship and a call to missions, I do want to challenge my church fam at BLDG 28 and encourage believers across the area to come out for this evening of missions and worship by answering this straight-forward question: why do it?
There are numerous legit answers I could render, but here are four quick responses to this query:
1. To combat the pervasive yet unspoken mentality that Jesus’ only gets Sunday mornings in the burbs. While church life in the sub-urban areas doesn’t get a ton of press and is not as sexy to chat about as ministry in the inner-city, the reality is that Jesus’ still reigns in areas with gated communities, shopping plazas, and a Starbucks on every other corner, and Christians should be heralds of this reality. Gathering on a Sunday evening – a time in the burbs reserved for rest and dread for the upcoming week – to worship Christ showcases to our friends, families, co-workers, classmates, and fellow church-goers the reality that Jesus deserves to be worshipped all the time, not merely for a groggy hour on the first day of the week.
2. To worship with other believers from around our area who are tethered to other churches on Sunday mornings. I am a huge proponent, as I look at the example from Acts, of believers being fully committed to their local church and worshipping with/serving in that congregation devotedly. I am stoked though to be able to worship this Sunday evening with pastor buddies/church planters who are always busy with kingdom business in their contexts on Sundays. To see the splintered church around our area unite together on nights such as this to worship our common, un-common Savior is incredible. Therefore, invite friends from other churches to come worship with you on this evening, and then to return renewed to serve and worship with their home church.
3. To shake us from our stagnant religiosity and comfortable routines.The single all-consuming word that dominates the suburbs is comfort. We work for this. Our schedules are designed to produce it. Our lives revolve around it. We crave comfort. Once more, I won’t cap on rest. Rest is good. Comfort can be enjoyed. But when comfort is idolized, and Christ is marginalized we have a glaring problem. Some of us need to be shaken from perpetual routines and convicted of our idol of comfort. Nights such as this assist in disrupting our routines and reminding us that the comfort of the burbs is an impotent god that will not satisfy in the long term.
4. To see kingdom advancement in a culture designed to promote and promise retreat. The suburbs orient inhabitants to retreat from social and cultural involvement. Front porches in the burbs are becoming rare as “living” areas move to the backyard. After a long week of work and countless meetings, many dwelling in these areas crave isolation on the weekends. However, isolation and social retreat never advanced the kingdom. Instead, to buck this cultural design and see kingdom advancement take place, why not sacrifice a Sunday evening to invite out friends and neighbors and sing of and to the One who arrested death.
I long to see a renewal of worship in the hearts of God’s people. This is necessary if we will see a revival of the fame of God in our cities. So once more, for all these reasons, and primarily because He is worthy, come out this Sunday, January 28 at 6 PM as we join together in adoration of the Liberator of our souls!