This morning I opened to this:
"The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath." (Mark)
This was Jesus' response when the Pharisees (like church authorities) criticized his disciples for doing it wrong - plucking and eating corn on the sabbath! Jesus set this precedent for all time. The rules are made to help man, not to restrict and condemn him.
A friend of mine explained why he and his family stay away from church. They tried for a bit, but whenever they skipped a service, they were questioned "Where were you?" Although the question may have been well-intentioned, it left a feeling of awkwardness, a sort of guilt. This was the big turn-off.
Today, perhaps it is a sign of enlightenment that, generally, people do not respond well to the guilt-trip that was used for so long to enslave people to "the church." Or perhaps the guilt-trip playing field has shifted to the medical, where, God-forbid you miss your regular check-up, etc.
In any case, Jesus' declaration remains a good reminder.
This to help prepare the heart for the day: