“Let’s enter God’s dwelling place; let’s worship at the place God rests his feet!” (Psalm 132:7, Common English Bible).
“Why do I need to go to church, I can worship God just as well in my rocking chair sitting on my front porch.” You can substitute any number of things for rocking chair on my front porch, “in my bass boat”, “in my deer stand”, “on my tractor” or “mowing my yard” to name only a few.
I have heard all of these and then some. I used to respond by saying, “You can, but you probably won’t.” Let’s face it, when we are focused on something else, are we really involved in worshiping God? Probably not. When we are sitting on that bass boat, as soon as there is a bite on the line, in the deer stand and that ten point buck walks by, on our tractor and mowing the yard we better have at least part of our thinking on safety for ourselves and those around us.
Worship is not an activity we can do while doing something else. God needs to be our focus and these other activities, by their very nature, the lone possible exception of my examples would be sitting in my rocking chair on the front porch, require keeping our focus on things that are not God.
Yes, my answer used to be, “You can, but you probably won’t.” I have come to understand, however, that I was wrong. By that I don’t mean that you will worship God when you worship in those settings. Quite the contrary. The thing is, you can’t worship God in those places because you are surrounding yourself with people of faith.
I don’t mean that we can’t be focused on God while at another place. A few weeks ago I told a story of an encounter I had with God while sitting in a canoe on a lake in Canada. While God was my focus, it was not worship.
When we are on our own, when we are in solitude with God, that is about devotion, it is not worship. Worship is not something we do alone, worship is done in community. Don’t get me wrong, devotion is important, but it is not a replacement for worship.
So why do we even need worship. Well, the biggest reason is, God said it is something we are to do. Beyond that, worship is the only thing the church does that isn’t done elsewhere in society. We should be about serving God by serving neighbor, but it isn’t what should be central in the life of the church. The church must be about worship first. That doesn’t mean all worship has to be done in the church building. Worship happens in parks, in camps, in military settings and even under bridges. Worship can happen where the people of God gather in the presence of God.
It is also important that we remember, worship is not the only reason we go to church. We also come together to study, to fellowship, to lift each other up. Support is one of the biggest things we do when we gather together. We may not always agree, but we are called to love and support one another.
The time we gather each week is important. It is important because of those other things we do, but it is not the most important reason. We gather first and foremost to worship God, gathered together as the people of God. Worshiping together as the community of faith is part of our call. Remember Jesus said, “…For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them” (Matthew 18, 20, Common English Bible).
Today is the day most of us go to worship. So get up and show up. God deserves our worship. Gather with your brothers and sisters in Christ and give God your worship.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Grace and Peace,
Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved