"I was thinking..."
I was thinking…Pastor Steve
I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” Psalm 122: 1 (NIV)
I have this quote on a print by Jack Sorenson that hangs in my office. I saw it at the Bethel Floral Boutique and suggested to Dona that it would make a wonderful Christmas gift (and it was!). Along with the quote is a colored print of five cowboy horses, with saddles and all, tied to a hitching post outside of an average country church. And it is winter time with snow on the ground. I look at it and think, “It seems people made more of an effort to get to church when it was harder to get to church.” I think back to the not-too-distant days when even being in a worship service was uncomfortable or nearly unbearable. I never worshipped in air-conditioning, really, until we were at a church in 2004. In other churches, I was always glad worship was in the morning, the coolest part of the day. We were really happy to have two ceiling fans installed to help move the air around.
Fortunately, everywhere we worshipped had heat, but how many of you remember having a wood or coal stove that had to be lit before the service? Plus, we had limited areas to hold our Sunday school classes. You could hear the discussions in the class next to you because it was either an open doorway, a section in the other part of the sanctuary, or behind a pull-out accordion partition. We still learned even if we were uncomfortable. (I won’t even get into the restrooms located out back!)
I guess as I was thinking about the “old days,” it caused me to wonder if people are spoiled today. We have so much on our plates with our jobs and families, trying to get the right mix of work time, sport time, and family time that for many of us worship comes in last, or nearly last. We have so many choices of where we can go to worship, different levels of comfort in how we worship, the ease of getting to worship, and even the option of going to worship that we can take it all for granted. I wonder, if we were truly an oppressed bunch of Christians, would we take gathering together to worship more seriously? If we couldn’t just “pop in” to a service, would we make the effort to be in His presence at a set time and day? Let me ask this…if we were going to meet with a big rock star, movie star, political star, or whoever you choose to think is important to meet, would we go out of our way to be there? Would we prepare for it in advance? Would we look forward to the opportunity to do it all again? Surely, we have experienced something like that in our lives at some time. The chance to go to the best concert ever. To be with our friends at the newest attraction or playoff game. We make arrangements, plans, schedules for all sorts of activities to attend, yet many will let worshiping God with other Believers come in last. Shouldn’t worship be as important, or even more important, than those other things? (Okay, at this point, I need to remind you that I’m not talking to you, specifically, but to the other fellow on the bench. You are doing great, and we’re glad to see you!) We need to make the effort to “go to the house of the Lord.”
We have an aging population, the Boomers, who will be dropping like flies (yes, I am one of them). Is the next generation going to take the helm, be the worshipers God has called them to be? Will they stand in the gaps and take on the next round of evangelism, missions, and outreach? It starts with that picture of horses tied outside the church. It means there are people inside looking to worship the Lord and be guided by His Holy Spirit. Let one of those people be you. Let’s rejoice and encourage one another to “go to the house of the Lord.” God bless.