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GOD & TEXAS: Sunday House

Civilization in Texas took a leap forward in 1846. Baron Otfried Hans Von (John) Meusebach purchased 10,000 acres of land in central Texas, near what is now known as Fredericksburg. Settlers from Germany immigrated to the Hill Country and were granted a 100 foot by 200 foot in-town lot, and 10 acres of farm land outside of town within a 20 mile radius. 


The new settlers placed the urgency on developing their farmland for food and income. Tilling the soil and building houses was consuming work. But they also faced depredations by hostile Comanches and outbreaks of epidemic diseases like yellow fever, cholera, and dengue fever. 


These new immigrants relied upon the nearby settlement for supplies and spiritual sustenance. On Saturdays, they would put the family in their wagons and head to town. After the shopping and errands were completed, Saturday nights were spent in fellowship with neighbors, attending weddings, or simply relaxing from a busy week. 


Sunday morning, attending church was their priority. After church, lunch was followed by Bible study, more fellowship, and loading the wagon for a return to the homestead. It was a simple, but joyful routine for families who spent most of the week alone on the farm.


Since there were no La Quinta Inns in Fredericksburg, farm families were frequently housed in barns, attics, or homes of church members. Some families pitched a tent on their town lot while others built small 12 foot by 14 foot one room houses with an outside staircase to the loft for the children. A lean-to kitchen may have been added to the back and a large front porch for family gatherings and community gossip. 


Because these houses were mainly used on Sundays, they became known as “Sunday Houses.” Some of them are still owned today by relatives of those hardy souls who immigrated to Texas. Many of these “Sunday Houses” have been reimagined as rentals for tourists. 


But each “Sunday House” testifies of the devout Christian settlers who sacrificed their finances and time to attend church and study the Bible. No doubt, there were crisis needs back at the farm. Yet, these sincere Texans knew that attending worship with the family was more important. They had their priorities. God was first.


The commitment of these pioneer Texans is a challenge to all of us. Life in the 21st Century is busy. Weekends are personal, and time is coveted for relaxation. But are we missing something essential for our heart and soul when we abandon the church? 


Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) warns, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Jesus taught in Matthew 6:33 (NLT), “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” 


Make your house a Sunday House. Keep God first!

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