4 min read
Good morning my friends. How are you? I am sitting by the window in our living room with a coffee, praying for all of you who read this. May today be a good day, may you find joy in the midst of this difficult and worrying season. And may these words on worship encourage and challenge you in all the best ways.
For my Bible reading I am currently following a plan that takes you through the books of the Bible in chronological order. I just started with 1 Samuel. So most of 2020 I have been following along with the story of God and his people. It is fascinating, awe-inspiring, confusing and heart wrenching. Many times whilst reading it, I was left surprised, amazed and ultimately, changed. I am sure I will share more about this in the coming days and weeks.
God’s people are called to worship
One thing that jumped out to me is how much of the law that God gives to Israel is concerned with worship. Especially from the book of Exodus it becomes clear that the first responsibility of God’s chosen people is to worship him.
This hasn’t changed. As God’s chosen people we are still called to love and praise him. However, we are no longer bound by a location. We don’t need to be near the ark of the covenant or in Shiloh or in the Temple. We can hold worship services in a cinema or in a living room or in a park.
Many conversations and sermons I have heard about worship made the point that worship is more than just the singing of songs during a church service. Worship is about our hearts. It is about putting God first. About doing everything for him.
I absolutely agree. Worship is a lifestyle, rather than just a slot in my week.
The importance of worshipping together
However, living a life that honours God does not eliminate the need for corporate worship.
Exodus very clearly expresses God’s desire for his people to come together and to declare his praises together.
Dr Douglas Stuart makes this point in his lecture on Exodus: “In Old Testament times, worship had to be in one location. Wherever that Ark and the sanctuary are is where you had to go. After this New Covenant Age on earth you revert back to the ideal. Every description of heaven is totality worship—everybody worshiping together. All the redeemed of all the ages worshipping together.”
In a way, you could say that we were made for corporate worship. It is our eternal destiny.
Corporate worship during social isolation
So, how do we apply all this to today where we are stuck in our homes and with our gatherings cancelled? Here are a couple of thoughts on this:
- My point that corporate worship is important, does not in turn mean that you cannot worship on your own. You absolutely can and should. (And the added advantage of worshipping by yourself is that you can sing as wrong and dance as wild as you want to.) So let’s use this time to grow in our personal worship to our Saviour.
- The Bible tells us that wherever there are two or three people in Jesus’ name, there he’ll be. I think the current situation is an excellent way of bringing worship to our homes. If you are living with one or more people, you can have a worship service. It might be awkward and unfamiliar, but God will surely delight in it.
- Many churches now stream services online. Thank God for YouTube, Zoom and all the other softwares that make this possible. A service on screen makes it really easy to watch as a passive consumer. We might be hindered by technology but God’s Spirit is not. Make a decision to engage, to come into God’s presence and to worship together with your church family, despite not being in the same room.
I am very much on a journey with all of these. Have you watched any online services? How are you finding it? If you have any tips or ideas how to worship during social isolation, I would love to hear them. Feel free to leave them in the comments below so others can also benefit from them.
Have a great day, everyone!