Please Leave your Cellphone at the Door

“Remember to observe the Sabbath as a holy day. Six days a week are for your daily duties and your regular work, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest before the Lord your God.” (Exodus 20:8-10)

Okay. So maybe leaving the cellphones at the door of the church is a little extreme. There are certainly emergency workers and caregivers who attend services each week and they are often on call. I’ve got that. But for the rest of the congregation–and I shudder even as I type this as attendance is often low enough as it is–do you really need to check your Facebook, Twitter and/or Pinterest accounts during church services?

I know. This may be one of those Al-Anon situations where I would be told to mind my own business. But that LED lighting up in random pews throughout the church…that becomes my business as it just distracted me from Father Elson’s homily. Ditto for a number of other congregationalists. But, okay. I’ll try.

And keep telling myself to be still. Don’t look over there again…even if the pew is suddenly lit up like a Christmas tree at midnight.

Don’t look…

MYOB…

Nope. Rudeness is always a distraction. And playing on your cell during any sort of meeting is rude. Plain and simple. It may not be something one wants to hear but it’s true…even if you’re in the choir loft.

We gather together on Sunday to hear the Word preached, to pray, to receive the Sacrament of Communion, to be enlightened, to draw closer to God. Church attendance is on the wane. And that’s sad enough as it is. I can respect that maybe for some of you reading this, it’s not Jesus but maybe Allah or Buddha or some other deity or Higher Power. I’m okay with that. This isn’t a my-religion-is-better-than-yours-and-everyone-has-to-conform-to-it blog post. This is a simple plea to those who still consider themselves practicing Christians to show some respect to their fellow parishioners, their clergy, and even to God on Sunday morning.

No, I don’t think your cellphone is bad. But the enemy of our souls uses it to distract us from that Word when we allow the temptation to check email during service to overcome our sense of decency and courtesy. And, no, I’m not the pillar of etiquette; Miss Manners has nothing to fear. But I can’t help thinking that our obsession with social media is causing an even greater division between us and our Creator. When we can’t even sit quietly, politely, and listen for just an hour or two on a Sunday morning, what does that say about our faith?

Granted, I give everyone who attends each week high marks just for being there…at least in the flesh. But, unless there is truly an emergency somewhere that you must attend, is it too much to ask that you attend in heart, mind and spirit also? Your cellphone, the emails, tweets, and messages will still be there in an hour. And, in the meantime, you will have received the best message of all–the message of salvation from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

May God bless you & keep you!

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