Many families experience the same thing. The worst fights break out on Sunday mornings either getting ready for church or headed there in the car.
You know the routine. The kids aren’t ready on time so Dad yells at them. Then mom snaps at Dad in front of the kids because she’s mad that he’s mad. Then the kids drag their feet even slower because they like watching the fireworks between their parents. And then they all get in the car and sit, in silence, as each one ponders why he or she had every right to do what he or she just did, waiting and wondering why someone else won’t apologize.
The devil is a sly, old fox! He gets us all whipped up into a frenzy of frustration seemingly on cue. Every Sunday it seems. Why is this?
First, because we knew this was our family’s tendency, we attempted to implement some habits into our Sunday morning routine to try and mitigate these weekly inevitabilities. For a long time, I took one child out for a “dad date” to a local coffee shop before church. Then after a few years of that, we started eating cinnamon rolls together as a family for breakfast. Now, yes, even with older teens and adults, we go to a coffee shop on the way to church. It is our weekly habit. We love it. Sundays wouldn’t be the same without it.
However, I’ve not yet dealt with the heart of the problem, right? The heart of the problem, as we’ve come to know, is the problem of the heart. I could stuff cinnamon rolls down each child’s throat and into their stomachs until they turned into the Pillsbury Doughboy, but if their hearts (or mine!) don’t change, then sinfulness will only shift to another expression of selfishness and combativeness.
So why does the devil throw such stiff, fiery javelins at our hearts on Sunday mornings? He does so because he knows what we are about to do, and he hates it and opposes it at every turn. He knows we are headed to the corporate worship of the true and living God.
The sons of Korah must have had a lot of Jewish cinnamon rolls growing up and they must have had parents who taught them the need for a right heart before God. In the 84th Psalm, they can’t stop going on and on about the joys of corporate worship.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord.
My heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house.
For a day in your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
They wait until the end of the psalm to explain why they are gushing about how much they love to be at the temple. They have come to know that God is a gracious God who gives them what they so desperately want when they come to gather with God’s people for corporate worship.
Psalm 84:11 (ESV)
11For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
God is a giving, gracious God. He gives favor, honor and every other good thing we need when we gather to praise God with others who’ve made the trek to be with God’s people.
We desperately need God’s favor, God’s honor, and anything and everything else that he has to give us. And there are ways in which those things are available to us in corporate worship that aren’t available to us at any other time.
So, break out the cinnamon rolls as you teach your family to love corporate worship. The devil will do his best to discourage you, but don’t forget that there are incredible things to be had from the hand of a gracious God when God’s people reach up to him in joyful, corporate worship.