When you go on vacation do you still go to church? Do you take time to scout where you’re going to worship in between days at Universal Studios and Disney World? I’m not talking about the obligatory, you’re visiting family so you have to go to church with them, vacation. I’m talking about the trip to Hilton Head for a week.
I’m guessing most people would say “I took a good book and plan on enjoying the blessings that God has given me”, right? I’ve never planned to attend any church while on vacation. Never really thought twice about it. Why is that? Why is church only obligatory when it’s part of the weekly routine? Why is it that I often enjoy my Christianity more when I’m not required to sit through a sermon or fend off the deacons?
There are probably many who feel guilt, maybe remorseful and repentant even, for missing church. They don’t feel they have fulfilled their 4th commandment to “rest on the seventh day” if they don’t sit in a pew. Now let’s clarify, I’m not belittling weekly church attendance or even going to the extreme of many today who feel they are better off spiritually without the confines of organized religion. What I’m talking about is how different worship may be when you’re on vacation versus in your routine of home.
The Bible defines Sabbath as a day of rest. Genesis recounts how God worked creating for 6 days, then sat back and said “it’s good”. We all have done something like this at some point. This summer I redid my patio, spending months leveling and laying slate. Each week after working all day on it, how did I end? Sitting on the portion I just finished in my lawn chair, cold drink in hand, admiring all I had done. Sabbath is a time to set aside the work, relax, and enjoy the blessings of life.
I always go back to Jesus’ comment “Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27). Rest, relaxation, time away from the worries and work of the week. Sabbath was made so that man would have an opportunity, an excuse even, to set aside the busy-ness of life to recharge. And one day a week is just the start.
I like to view vacations as a kind of Sabbath. Sure, maybe they aren’t filled with praise music, offertories, and Bible study. But do you need those to enjoy God and His gifts? Is that priceless moment watching the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom with my boys sitting in my lap any less of a blessing than sitting with them in church?