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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Provocative Quote

My sabbatical project is "Sabbath": what is it, what is it not, what's it for, how does it work today? One of the books I'm reading is by Anscar J. Chupungco "Handbook for Liturgical Studies: Liturgical Time and Space printed in 1992 by the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, MN (so it's a solid academic and Roman Catholic examination of the origin of the liturgy).
In chapter three "The Liturgical Year in the First Four Centuries" Matias Auge, C.M.F (a contributing scholar) explores the celebration of Sunday over Saturday/Sabbath. He found a quote from the early Christian manuscript called the "Didascalia" written around 231 AD that said:
"Now when thou teaches, command and warn the people to be constant in assembling in the Church, and not to withdraw themselves but always to assemble, lest any diminish the Church by not assembling and cause the body of Christ to be short a member.  
Since therefore you are the members of Christ, do not scatter yourselves from the Church by not assembling."
Without reverting to a new legalism, are we missing something when the Sunday gathering becomes an optional activity for believers among many other options? Are we scattering ourselves to the detriment of both the larger church and our own spiritual health?
I know of a number of committed followers of Jesus, self-confessed Christians, who do not worship, who do not attend any church with regularity. I know that they might not feel fed and connected with one particular church, but no church?
From a recent church poll, we found out that some participants referred to themselves as "regular attendees" of Montecito Covenant, yet attend less than once a month? How is that regular and not scattered? I know several of these persons and consider them friends and brothers/sisters in Christ. These are good and wonderful friends. Yet worshiping regularly has been squeezed out of their lives. What's going on in the larger culture? Is the Didascalia still a relevant word?

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