Sunday's Are Hardest by R.C. Sproul Jr.

The following comes from one of The Kingdom Notes that R.C. Sproul Jr. writes for Highland Ministries. In this note he discusses Family Integrated Church and in one paragraph he hits the nail on the head as to the intent of a Family Integrated Church...which should be the intent of all churches. I have bolded the paragraph.

Here it is...
I was invited to sit in on a panel discussion recently for the Covenant Presbyterian Church’s annual gathering. The CPC is a small, friendly Presbyterian denomination in which I am ordained. One of its distinctives is that its churches are “family integrated.” What that means is covered here, but the short answer is that the church worships together and does not create age-segregated programs. I planted a family integrated church fifteen years ago. I was privileged to speak at the first national Uniting Church and Home Conference more than ten years ago.  Having established my credentials, however, I need to make one more thing clear. “Family-integrated” is not a descriptor like Presbyterian or even paedo-baptist. That is, the term is more a description for how we do church, less something we want to have a tooth and claw theological fight over.
 
The first question addressed was - is it true that family integrated churches neglect singles, and those in broken families? And that’s when the whiplash hit. It’s a question/argument I had seen before. It’s a question I had answered before. But this time, while my answer did not change, where I was sitting did. It came to me like a grenade in my playground- I am the head of a broken family. I am not an intact family hoping to minister well to others. I’m the others.
 
I am all too conscious of the absence of my dear wife Denise. I literally never go five minutes without this crushing thought - Denise isn’t here with me. I am, in turn acutely aware that my children are without their mom. I weep and worry for and with them. It was more than four months after her home-going, however, until it dawned on my that my family is “broken.”
 
Sundays are hardest for me, not because the church where I belong doesn’t have a program for widowers, singles, or broken families. They are hardest for me because my church has a program for widowers and singles and broken families and intact families and divorcees and tall believers and foster children and seniors, and people in debt and wealthy people and missionaries and musicians. The program is the gospel.
 
Denise passed away at roughly 6:00 AM on Sunday morning, December 18th. Though she was in hospice, the day before she had been awake, engaged in conversation, eating popsicles. In one sense it was sudden, a surprise. On the other hand, when I awoke that morning to see the nurse looking down at Denise I raised my eyebrows and the nurse gently nodded. I knew.
 
After coming home, and telling, the children, holding and praying with them, crying with them, I got dressed to go to church. Not because of force of habit. Not out of a sense of duty. I went because I needed to know that my sins were forgiven, that her sins were forgiven, that my Father in heaven loves me and her, that Jesus was risen, and that Denise would rise. I needed to know that Jesus reigns, and that Denise is seated with Him. I needed to hear the gospel preached.
 
Sundays, however, are not hardest for me because I am in the same church where I sat so soon after she left.  They are hard for me because the beauty of the gospel is just what she looked like. The glory of the gospel reminds me of her glory, the gospel. It was, and will be the beauty that lights up her face. It was and is the power that fueled her labors for me and the children. It was and is the comfort by which she did and does comfort me. Sundays smell like Denise.
 
On Sundays we, the church militant, all the saints around the world, are lifted up into the heavenly places. There we meet together with the church triumphant. On Sundays we leave this valley of the shadow of death and with the souls of just men, and women made perfect, we dance on the Mountain of the Brilliance of Life.

The Kingdom Notes are regular devotionals from 


Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. and Highlands Ministries