Let’s Hear It for Sunday Night Church
I feel sorry for Sunday night church. It has been cut back, cut out, moved forward, redefined, replaced by some groups and just about every other thing that could be done to something, which at one time was so precious to us all. I grew up going to church on Sunday night and not once did we think about its inconvenience to us or how we can make it adjust to our lives to make them a little easier.
Canceling Sunday night would have been akin to canceling Sunday dinner or even worse for that matter. It had almost an equal billing with Sunday morning church. It was the costar of a good Sunday. It was the desert of the Lord’s day. The question “are we going to church tonight?” didn’t exist in our lives.
However, the mighty often fall and Sunday night church is no longer the glamorous costar of Sunday morning. It has been relegated to optional and asked to adjust itself so as to make our lives more convenient. No longer do we build our lives around the Sunday night church service, but we ask that it build its life around us. I miss Sunday night the way it used to be and I long for a day when it returns to its glory.
Why was Sunday night so special? It was special because it was another time to meet with the church family. Unlike Sunday morning when we had visitors sit at the table with us. Sunday night was just dinner for the family for the most part. An occasional guest would join us, but mostly it was the family enjoying a time of hearing the preaching together.
It was special because it concluded the Lord’s day with the Lord. Sunday night we would go to church and arrive home just in time to eat a snack and go to bed. It was usually too late to turn on the television or watch a ballgame. No, it was the end of the Lord’s day, it was dark outside, and we went to bed with the fresh thought of the preaching of God’s word in our minds.
It was special because we were able to hear the preacher again. Sunday night wasn’t like Sunday morning. The preacher cut loose a little bit more on Sunday night than he did Sunday morning. He spoke directly to us. He challenged us more. He exhorted a bit more. Sometimes he even scolded a little bit more.
It was a family meeting where he could be more candid with the members of the family. We laughed more, cried more, shouted more, loved more, relaxed more, listened more, responded more, hugged more, sang more, fellowshipped more, shook hands more, etc.
It was another chance to become closer to one another. It was another chance to shake hands. I love the old gospel songs we sang in church. Sunday mornings we sang pretty good, but Sunday nights…well we cut loose on Sunday nights. After all there was no one there that we were trying to impress.
It puts sports, football in particular, in its place. Never saw the ending of the second football game or golf tournament on Sundays because we had to leave for church. As far as we were concerned the second game on Sunday night football didn’t exist, but if it had we would have missed it, because we were in church.
It gave us another chance to do something for the Lord. A group that couldn’t sing on Sunday morning could sing on Sunday night. Soloists who couldn’t sing Sunday morning preformed Sunday night. People that were working during the service in other services Sunday morning finally were able to come and be with the rest of the church family on Sunday night. Just more chances we all had to do something special for the Lord, made Sunday night important to us.
We knew we were different. Lots of cars were pulling out of their driveways on Sunday mornings, but not too many cars were going anywhere on Sunday nights, unless they were going to church. We walked out to the car looking like most people looked on Sunday morning when they went out to their car. People stared at us wondering if that’s all we ever did was go to church. We were peculiar in our neighborhood, because we were one of the few that went back on Sunday nights, in fact we were one of the few that had services that we could go back too on Sunday nights.
Oh, how lonely Sunday night church must feel even in some fundamental circles. Constantly being changed to accommodate, constantly being altered, constantly being shut down for Christmas, feeling like a red headed step child, shut down for New Years, July 4th, Memorial Day, and lately the Super Bowl. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” has a big hole left in it’s nuance meaning nowadays with Sunday night church being disrespected and in some cases vacated. I can almost see a tear leaving the corner of the eye of Sunday night when the preacher announces there will be no Sunday night service this week.
JUST A THOUGHT!