At the end of each Sunday morning church service, one of my pastors stands at the back of the sanctuary near the door and says,
“Let us go forth in the name of Christ.”
The congregation responds as one voice, “Thanks be to God. Alleluia. Alleluia! ALLELUIA!” The final ‘alleluia’ rings across the sanctuary like a cheer. Kids jump out of their seats, adding their voices to the mix. The band then continues the song we had been singing just moments prior as we gather our purses and Bibles and children to head home.
And with that, we’re sent out into the world.
I attend a liturgical church, so this sort of “call and response” is not unusual. But we don’t do it simply because it’s what we do.
We’re officially sent out as a reminder that we don’t want to be “Sunday morning Christians.”
“Sunday morning Christians” serve in ministry one day a week, they proclaim the Lord’s goodness, they appear to be holy—at least within the walls of the church.
But Monday through Saturday, the lives of these Christians tell a different story.
They think mostly of themselves, they refuse to allow their faith to infiltrate other parts of their lives, and the work of Christ has no power over their sin—at least, they don’t let it have power over their sin.
But again, that’s not who we want to be.
By the end of a Sunday morning church service, we’ve gathered as a Church body to worship God corporately, to confess sin, to be filled with His Word and Sacrament. And so often, we feel spiritually full. But we’re not meant to stay in that building forever. We’ve been called to GO and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). We’ve been called to be a light in a dark work (Matthew 5:14-16), to proclaim the name of God (Psalm 105:1), and to represent Him well (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).
Often, it feels much easier to worship when we’re surrounded by other believers doing the same. Their voices and prayers carry us when we feel spiritually weak. But at work on Tuesday afternoon, we don’t always have that gift of “togetherness.” In those moments, the Christian walk can feel quite lonely.
Think too of what it’s like to take communion on a Sunday morning. With broken bread resting in the palms of our hands, with the faint smell of red wine in the air, we are so deeply aware of our sin yet overwhelmed by God’s grace and redemption over it all. We want nothing more than to honor the Lord and live a life of holiness. But when sin tempts midweek, how easy it is to fall prey.
I wonder, would we be so quick to succumb to those temptations if we believed that Christ’s power literally carried us out into the world? Do we fall because we forget His beauty? How worthy He is to be praised with our very lives?
Of course, we understand that God is worthy of our “living sacrifice” on Sunday morning—we feel it to be true (Romans 12:1-2). But what would it look like to believe in the Lord’s worthiness on Thursday at 7 pm as we struggle to honor Him with our sexuality or our words or our time?
My prayer is that you and I would be “Sunday through Saturday” Christians—that we would carry the realities of corporate worship into our everyday lives.
This kind of Christian life is all-encompassing yet freeing in the most beautiful way. We don’t devote ourselves fully to God out of bondage. We do so because we love Him and we couldn’t imagine giving Him anything less than our all. As our knowledge of who He is and what He has done grows deeper each day, it is a joy to be sent out into the world in his name. Thanks be to God!