As it turned out, the return to in-person Church was harder than people imagined.
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.” (John 17:24, NIV 1984).
“The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you.” (1 Kings 8:27, NIV 1984).
“A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23–24, NIV 1984).
My Musings – “The kind of worshippers the Father seeks.” What kind is that? If God does not live in temples built by hands, then we the Church will not be frustrated by the inability to gather together. The government may declare that a Church is non-essential, but that does not diminish our ability to “worship in spirit and in truth.” Yes, it will be nice to come together once again, but the Church is not now, nor has it ever been, defined by a building.
My Advice – Let’s be thankful for the ability to gather together virtually. And, as the restrictions on gatherings are gradually lifted, consider getting a small group to come together (if you are able) in your home and watch your Church’s service together on the internet. “Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20–21, NIV 1984). Be wise and courteous, by following CDC guidelines for safe gatherings.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. ” (Romans 12:1, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Not all contributions (time, talent, treasure) are a sacrifice, although many who contribute might like to think so. On the other hand, most who make sacrifices, usually are not thinking about what they are giving up, but rather to whom or for what they are sacrificing.
In view of God’s mercy – Mercy is not getting the punishment that is deserved. Considering what punishment is being avoided, is it worth a contribution to the Kingdom or a sacrifice for the Kingdom?
Living sacrifices – God, through His Son, made one sacrifice for all of our sins, past present and future. Why should we not want to live out our days sacrificially living for Him?
Spiritual Act of Worship – It’s not that we are trying to pay Him back. We could never come close. It is a way of saying thanks, that goes beyond mere gratitude. It is reverence and adoration. But more than a state of mind. It is a call to action.
My Advice – A couple verses prior to the one cited above (that’s what the therefore is there for), Paul writes “who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” (Romans 11:35, NIV 1984). We are not looking for rewards, although there will be some. But God doesn’t want us to pay Him back either. He wants us to pay it forward. “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40, NIV 1984).