I pray this month finds you well! This month, I’d like to leave you with an article from Gavin Ortlund, a worship leader and writer from Deerfield, Illinois. I pray we read his article and apply these truths to our hearts and lives!
“Three Ways to Guard Joy on Sundays”
Sometimes we are so exhausted from our week that we simply “let go” when the weekend comes. I can understand that, but I also have found that a little intentionality on the weekends can go a long way. During this season, we’ve discovered a few simple changes that have helped our church attendance, and the whole Sunday experience, be more fruitful.
1. Sanctify your Saturday nights.
If you treat Saturday night as a time to start preparing, Sunday mornings go much better. Are there ways you can make Saturday evenings special? Can you go to bed a little earlier? Even something as simple as talking with your kids about church the next day over dinner, and then praying about corporate worship before going to bed, can make a huge difference. A joyful Sunday morning often begins the night before.
2. Prepare for the inevitable fight or spilled milk.
I am amazed at how often something goes wrong on the car ride to church! I believe this is often Satan’s strategy. He needles us in the car on the way there, or on our way out the door — whatever he can do to get us grumpy and discombobulated by the time we walk into the sanctuary. If we prepare for this in advance, we can catch him in the act, “for we are not ignorant of his designs” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
So, when you climb into your minivan, tell yourself in advance, Someone is probably going to spill their milk in the van, or pull their sister’s hair, or chuck their Bible out the window on the interstate. When that happens, I will pray rather than yell.
3. Find creative ways to make Sundays a delight.
There is no reason why Sundays should be austere rather than a delight. We might associate “holy” with “somber,” but that is not how the Bible talks. Notice, for example, the language Nehemiah and Ezra use when they lead the people in covenant renewal:
“This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep. . . . Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. . . . This day is holy; do not be grieved.” (Nehemiah 8:9–11). In this context, holiness is celebratory. The logic goes like this: “today is holy, so stop crying and drink some wine.”
We also should pursue cultivating an atmosphere of joy and celebration on Sundays. Is there a favorite restaurant you can make your Sunday tradition, or a favorite breakfast food you can make on Sundays? What other Sunday traditions might help the day be enjoyable? When your kids think back twenty years from now, what memories and associations do you want them to have with Sundays and church?
God is our greatest joy and we want him to be our children’s greatest joy, and Sundays are a unique weekly opportunity to worship and enjoy God together. Let’s strive to make Sundays a delight for our children, not a burden.