I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Psalm 122:1, NLT*
Last Saturday night, thinking about church in the morning, I quoted this verse with a kind of self-mocking regret. It’s not how I’ve felt about attending in a long time. I go, but there’s no gladness to it.
A few minutes later, I climbed into bed and turned to where I’d left off in A Long Obedience in the Same Direction. You can guess which verse was top of the page. Zing!
I stopped to think about what it meant. The house of the LORD. Not a place where a group of mismatched people gather.
It’s about God – not about them, us or me. About honouring and worshipping the One who created and redeemed us. The One who still has a purpose for us, if we’ll get out of our own way and follow Him.
I know “church” isn’t a building. It’s the body of believers who are the “house” of the Lord. And I know His Spirit dwells in each of us and we don’t need to be with others to worship (although Hebrews 10:25 says not to give up meeting together).
But I’m challenged to make attending church more than habit or duty. More than a grim choice, acting in trust that God will do something. I’m reminded to see it as going to meet with God and worship Him.
That’s a radical attitude refresher. It means not only getting enough rest on Saturday night, but preparing my heart for Sunday. Praying for the leaders, for the service, for God to prompt folks to attend. Fixing my eyes and heart on God, not on congregational issues. It even affects the care I take with my appearance.
How did Sunday morning go this week? My heart was different. I served more willingly, remembering who I was really serving. I heard God in the message. While I can’t say I felt worship, I did worship. And I didn’t come home depressed, because I’d been looking upward instead of horizontally.
Holy God, You call us to worship alone and corporately, not because You need affirmation but because it builds our faith. It reminds us of who You are and of Your love for us. Thank You for not letting us settle into negative ruts. Continue to prune, shape and guide us into followers worthy of Your Name. Make us useful and joyful for Your Kingdom.
Let Matt Redman’s song, “Here for You,” remind us why we gather to worship.
*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.