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, NIV*
You know how, some weeks, you’re ready for Sunday worship. There’s a reverent hush in your spirit before you even walk into church, a holy waiting that warms you towards your congregation and makes it easy to hear God speak through song, Scripture, sermon.
Then there are other weeks when you show up because it’s the right thing to do, you smile and hug and do what you expect of yourself, but there’s no sign of life on the inside.
Well, maybe you don’t know. For me, these are the two extremes, and the first is less common than the last. Usually I’m somewhere in the middle.
Sunday past was one of those “show up and smile” days. If I go to church sad, I feel like a fake in my “happy” guise. But I know I’ve come to the best place to find help. Going empty feels even phonier, but it shouldn’t. Where better to fill up?
As the service started, I looked around at the congregation—people of whom I’m genuinely fond—and didn’t feel any more connected with them than with God. I was sort of apologizing to Him, sorry to be that way and thinking, “All I could do was come as I am.”
His response was so quiet I didn’t recognize Him at first—the sudden idea that we’re welcome to “come as you are” in obedient trust.
So He said it again in the opening song: “Come, Now is the Time to Worship” has that “just as you are” tone too.
Father, You draw us to worship, and in You we find life and light. Help us to do our part daily to prepare our souls, and help us trust You to daily do Your part to prepare them too. I praise You for the mystery of relationship with You, how we can’t come to You unless the Holy Spirit draws us, but yet we still need to make the choice to come.
Here’s Brian Doerksen’s “Come, Now is the Time to Worship,” sung by Hillsong.
*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Well said, Janet. I was thinking much the same thing just last evening. (Though my past Sunday was one of the most expectant Advent beginnings I’ve known.)
God bless you, friend.
Thanks, Sheila–and I’m glad you’re off to such an anticipatory Advent beginning!!
Janet, this makes me think of a number of accounts throughout God’s word, where it describes an event and then says, “And they bowed down to worship.”
God is near for worship in all sorts of circumstances, and our public worship is one of them, so that we can strengthen one another.
Corporate worship is important, and sometimes it’s a challenge in our individualistic culture. But we need it–for the strength we receive and the strength we give one another.