And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Open the doors. Where are the people?
It is no secret that worship attendance is on the decline in our country. And yes, I know it is the summer, with many people away for the weekend. But it is an overarching situation every week. People just don’t feel that they “get anything” out of worship. Or they don’t like the music. Or they don’t like the sermon. Or they don’t like the pastor. Or some other reason.
But one of the things we have lost sight of is God. You see, worship is not about us. It is about God. The Westminster Catechism reminds us that the chief end of humanity is to glorify God and enjoy God forever. Catch that? Glorify God not us. That is the purpose of worship.
Yet we do get something out of worship. We can (when we allow it to happen) encounter God. We can experience God’s healing. And (and this is a very important part), we can be a part of God’s mission in the world.
Last Sunday was an incredible worship service. We started with a mini-hymn sing which included some congregational favorites. I preached on Luke 13:10-17, the story of a woman healed on the Sabbath. Realizing how humans have made the Sabbath a “rule” instead of a gift of God’s grace, I tried to open up the idea of the importance of taking a break in life, and being present in worship to experience God’s grace directly. I reminded the congregation that the woman was at the place she needed to be for healing (the synagogue during worship), and that Jesus was at the place he needed to be to heal the woman. We, as followers of Jesus, need to be where God wants us so that we can either be healed, or be the healing presence for another. So often our presence in worship helps someone else far more than we realize. Any person might be the vehicle for God’s grace. Any person might be the one God has chosen to guide another, to help another, to pray for another, to heal another, to love another. But if you are that person and you are not present…
After the sermon, our youth group led us in some songs, then we prayed for the youth as they went on a Summer retreat. This was followed with some intense prayers for the congregation, community, nation and the world. Our prayer time is definitely growing – and everyone present is a part of those prayers.
Worship is important. It is important to God and so it should be important to us. Yes, we all need some time off, we need rest. But Jesus calls us to rest in Him. What better way to do this than worship?
Grace and Peace,