As summer heats upon us, many of us will be vacationing all over the country. As a pastor, I am constantly troubled by how many people treat vacation as not only a break from work, but also a break from Church. To some, if vacation happens to involve a Sunday then their priority will be on a Church-free Sunday rather than gathering with God’s people.
Hebrews does not treat this subject lightly. The author forbids the non-assembling of ourselves. It calls us to not forsake the gathering. The angels and archangels engage in heavenly worship day and night and we are called to join in this duty of worship each time we are gathered together on the Lord’s Day.
Vacation is no substitute for worship. In fact, missing the Lord’s Day gathering on vacation for any trivial reason is to mock the tearing of the veil, which gave us access to the heavenly throne of grace.
With that in view, here are a few things I recommend for those going on vacation this summer:
First, avoid falling for the trap that a few good Christians gathered constitute the Church on Sunday. You may enjoy Christian fellowship, be challenged by an exhortation, but this does not constitute heavenly worship. It may be simply a Bible study, but worship is not a Bible study; it is the very entrance of God’s people into the heavenly places through the work of the Spirit.
Second, before going on vacation google churches near the area. If you are not able to find a church that resembles yours, look to explore a bit outside your tradition. Learn to love the universal church. Find an evangelical congregation that loves the Bible.
Third, avoid making Sunday morning plans. Let your family-especially those who are not Christians– know that you treasure Sunday mornings and that you desire to teach your children to love this day also. It may not be beneficial to theologize about these issues with other family members (since, it may lead to unnecessary arguing), but at the very least offer them one or two reasons.
Finally, when visiting other churches, teach your children (and yourself) not to be overly critical about the preaching, singing, or any other feature of the service. Use this time to teach the little ones about the beauty of the universal church.
The Lord’s Day is a day of rest. It is the feast God has prepared for you. Under normal circumstances, there is no other place for you to be.