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Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. –Exodus 20:8

It was one year ago today that the World Council of Churches met and made an audacious proposal to the rest of the world:

They suggested that we add an eighth day to the week.

Since it was their idea,  they decided to call the day “Sabbath-Day-OK-This-Time-We-Really-Mean-It”.

The scientists said “Sure, time is a human construction, and we can make it whatever we want.” So they eliminated January and February from the calendar, and did a few more tweaks here and there, and got us back to 365 days a year.

Non-churchgoers loved the idea of an extra long weekend every week. Business owners found that their productivity stayed strong as worker morale improved.  And as for  Christians, celebrating their “Sabbath-Day-OK-This-Time-We-Really-Mean-It”?

Attendance went down.

That’s right. Attendance figures just came out for the past year, and worship in American churches has dropped another tenth of a percent.

It would appear that with more time on the weekend people just did more stuff. More visiting with the grandkids. More time for yardwork. More camping trips or sleeping in.

A tired-looking president of the World Council of Churches issued a statement just moments ago:

“Well, fellow Christians, we tried. We cleared a whole extra day for you to keep the Sabbath, but you just keep doing other things! As of today I am resigning my position. I’m looking forward to a nice long break, and this weekend I plan to go visit my grandkids.”

Rumors of a proposed ninth day of the week movement has met with much criticism. As one Christian said, “Honestly? I think they could add five more Sabbaths every week and it still wouldn’t make a difference. Worship and rest is still a priority for people, but it’s just not the only priority, and not always on Sunday. I love to go to church, but I’ve got other things I want to do, too. So I do my best to balance it out.”

And so, the Eight Days A Week movement, as it has been called, was a success for everybody except the people who proposed it in the first place. Lately, there’s been talk about moving back to the old system. People miss Martin Luther King Jr Day and Valentine’s Day in particular.

As for my humble take on things, I think the church is going to be okay, and I think Christians are going to be okay, but not without some tough times along the way.  Our society has definitely steered away from notions of Holy rest and worship, things God says we clearly need.

I predict people will still gather for worship on the Sabbath, but maybe we need to focus our efforts towards teaching people how to be Holy…

on the other six days.

Or seven.

Whichever calendar you’re using.

Have a good week,

Mitch

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HOT NOW.

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I wonder.

How many customers show up at Krispy Kreme when the “Hot Now” light is on, compared to when it’s off?

I’m guessing the difference is…gastronomical.

Come to think of it, the only time I show up at a Krispy Kreme is when that light is on, because it’s an entirely different eating experience.

I mean, you put a day-old doughnut in front of me, chances are I’m gonna eat it.

But when those things are hot?  Fresh off the conveyor belt?

Now that’s something special.

Something Life-changing.  Transcendent.

The kind of thing I might be willing to hop in my car and go buy a box of.

So here’s what I’ve been thinking.

Maybe we should get one of those “HOT NOW” signs for the church!

Instead of “Krispy Kreme” in the center, it would say “CHURCH”.

And we’d light it up every Sunday morning so the whole community would know something truly special was happening here.

Can you imagine the results?

Attendance would skyrocket.

Folks would fill up the parking lot to get their hands on what we’re offering.

(Something Life-changing.  Something Transcendent.)

When people saw that sign, they’d make it a priority because they’d know we were offering our very best.

There’s only one thing…

We’d have to truly be offering our very best.

I mean, can you picture people showing up at Krispy Kreme expecting 30-second old donuts and instead getting something stale and old?

If we lit up that “HOT NOW” sign for all people to see, then the experience of church had better be something extra special.

Something that would have people coming back for more.

So what does that mean we’d have to offer?  What’s our equivalent of a hot and fresh doughnut?

A great sermon?  A stirring anthem?  Well, they’d have to be pretty good.  But there’s more.

A “HOT NOW” Sunday morning includes amazing hospitality, excellent learning opportunities for all ages, and a real and powerful invitation to receive the love of Christ.

And there would be great excitement, and passion and vulnerability and faith bursting at the seams of the building and back out onto the streets.

And there would be a sense of community and support far more nourishing than any doughnut could ever be.

That’s a lot to pull together on a Sunday morning!

That makes doughnut frying look like child’s play.

Still, it’s what we’re called to do.  Some Sundays we do better than others.

I wonder.

If we had a “Hot Now Church” sign in the window…

How often would we turn it on?

Have a great week,

Mitch

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