Greetings to all! It has been good to catch up with some of you by phone – especially those living alone. My worship team had been looking forward to leading the praise on Easter Sunday morning, and had already been planning some of what we were intending to sing. Obviously, events overtook us.
We are not in the physical church building any more at the present time, but we still ARE the church. One of the things we do corporately when we meet together is to worship God. Here are a few thoughts on worship and on how we might maintain a spirit of worship in our own homes and hearts at this time…
- because It is commanded by God: Psalm 96, v.1-2:
Sing to the Lord a new song, sing to the Lord all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise His Name; proclaim His salvation day after day.
Even when we don’t feel like praising God, we should do so anyway, in order to reawaken our own hearts to our abundant material and spiritual blessings.
- to exalt Christ:
Crown Him with many Crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
It helps us to keep the person of Jesus Christ in our central focus at this (and indeed any) time of year.
- to imitate God Himself: Zephaniah 3 v 17b:
He will quiet you with His love; He will rejoice over you with His love.”
It is a humbling thought that we gladden God’s heart by being in His family and His presence, belonging to Him. We who deserve nothing other than separation from God because of our sin, have been accepted and rejoiced over. What a spur for our own praise!
- to express our unity: Acts 2 v 46-47:
They broke bread together in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people.
Even in this time of lockdown, many of us in the church have been having our own time of communion when Geoff leads us over social media – in ones, twos or family groups. We are together in spirit even if socially isolated. Jesus is present with us at our respective “tables”.
- to speak and learn truth:
Scripturally based lyrics are ideal. Most of our hymns and spiritual songs are to a greater or lesser extent, based on the Word of God. Just as we can learn Scripture verses to edify us, so we can commit Christian songs and hymns to memory too. These are precious resources on which we can draw when times are tight – or when we don’t have immediate access to our Bibles.
- to help us to self-examine:
The psalmist has experienced many different moods and circumstances which result in the writing of a wide range of songs in Scripture.
Search me, O God, and know my heart today…
loosely based on Psalm 51. These thoughts are useful for preparing our hearts for communion.
- to sing with our heads and our hearts:
Church worship should engage both the intellectual basis of our faith and our emotions too. It is important to achieve that balance. An ideal example might be the third verse of Living Hope:
Then came the morning that sealed the promise
Your buried body began to breathe
Out of the silence, the Roaring Lion
Declared the grave has no claim on me
Let’s keep up our own personal times with God part of which is giving Him our adoration for Who and what he is. We all struggle with concentration in the morning (or whatever time of day). If you don’t, I can assure you that I do! Why not take advantage of this opportunity to realign our hearts to God and His Word? The Psalms are there to help us to relate to all conceivable human emotions. There is plenty of material relevant to us in the New Testament letters; the Gospels keep us in tune with the heart of Jesus Himself, whose teaching challenges, encourages, and uplifts us. Despite distressing circumstances, David managed to
“encourage himself in the Lord…
1 Samuel 30 v 6b. Let’s use the extra time which is now at our disposal to guard jealously that daily time with God. Don’t forget the resources which are available to us from the Christian music we can listen to via CDs, You tube, sharing on social media and lots more.
In our recent prayer meetings and occasionally in Home Groups, we have been praying for revival. The current circumstances are affecting people – and not always only in a bad way. Who knows that this could be the way God wants to draw people to Himself and challenge us all about what needs to change in our lives. When all that is familiar and normal is stripped away, we can get a fresh vision of Him. Pray on to that end folks!