I had never heard of Covenant College until today. This Presbyterian school located in Lookout Mountain, Georgia gained national news headlines over the weekend when its women’s college tennis team refused to compete in the championship match.
The reason? It wasn’t because of too many injuries. It wasn’t because the umpires were unfair. It wasn’t because they had been treated poorly by the host school.
Their reason for deciding to forfeit the championship o Methodist was this: the match was scheduled on a Sunday, April 17. Like many athletes (e.g., Eric Liddell) before them, their decision was based solely on a conscience that would not allow them to compete on the Lord’s Day.
Now, if they had decided to compete, they would not have received my condemnation, but their decision to not complete certainly raises my level of respect – that they would put the Lord’s Day before their day.
Their school’s motto is “In All Things Christ Preeminent,” and they certainly practiced what they preached by showing the preeminence of Him over themselves in this decision.
The Lord’s Day is not an ordinary day and athletics – both viewing and participating – have been trying to steal our affection from being in church for years.
Consider the following verses about corporate worship on the Lord’s Day.
Psalm 84:1-4, 10 – “1 How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! 2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. 3 Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. 4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! … For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”
- Psalm 122:1 – “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’”
- Acts 2:42-47 – “42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
- Hebrews 10:24-25 – “24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
What would you have done?