Some years ago the First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City went to some unusual lengths to ensure a big turnout.
The 1500 seats were nearly filled on “No Excuse Sunday” as the church provided an answer for about 15 of the congregation’s most well-worn excuses for not attending worship. For instance:
For those who would rather fish than think about the wages of sin, fish were stocked in the church fountain. Rods and reels were provided.
The preacher showed a telegram signed by all NFL coaches pledging that nothing exciting would happen until services were over.
Cots were available for those who just couldn’t stay awake for an entire worship service.
Two doctors were available for anyone who felt too sick to come.
Steel helmets were provided for those who thought the roof would fall in.
Pews were reserved in the front for those who said they couldn’t hear the preacher. Pews were reserved in the rear for those who complained that the preaching was too loud.
No mention was made, however, of smoking or non-smoking sections.
As Paul preaches before Governor Festus and King Agrippa in today’s portion of Acts, we may get a feeling of déjà vu – that we’ve heard this before.
Paul tells again the story of his conversion. He preaches the same simple gospel of the Savior.
The weekly routine of Word and Sacrament may seem repetitive. But it was Christ’s own pattern. The four Gospels tell us that the Savior worshipped regularly “as His custom was.” The apostles did likewise.
Some, imagining themselves far above Christ and His apostles, feel no need of public worship, of the preaching of the word, of Christ’s body and blood. They turn up their noses at the rich and varied menu of Him who is “the Bread of Life.”
Years ago, a letter appeared in The British Weekly:
“Dear Sir, it seems ministers feel their sermons are very important and spend a great deal of time preparing them. I have been attending church quite regularly for 30 years and I have probably heard 3,000 of them. To my consternation, I discovered I cannot remember a single sermon. I wonder if the minister’s time might be more profitably spent on something else.”
After a storm of feedback, one fellow’s response ended the discussion:
“Dear Sir, I have been married for 30 years. During that time I have eaten 32,850 meals – mostly my wife’s cooking. Suddenly I have discovered that I cannot remember the menu of a single meal. And yet I have the distinct impression that without them I would have starved long ago.”