6th July 2020
great in so many ways
Were you able to share?
Were you able to share in corporate worship yesterday?
For the first time since lock down
we gathered in the biggest church of the four in our benefice and joined in a BCP said communion;
it was all very well organised, we observed social distancing
and took our own bread and wine
(as our rector said 'If our God is great enough to create the universe and all that is in it,
as he is; he doesn't need the bread and wine to be on the altar for it to be consecrated.)
We took our own BCP books or printed out the service emailed to us by the rector.
It was wonderful to be together to worship our great and wonderful God.
It was a moving experience and we discovered we could worship
without hymn singing, a revelation for some!
Many have decided it's too early to open up their churches yet,
their congregations are not ready,
and that's understandable.
Some churches are trying to find a compromise,
one church I know of advertised an outdoor service,
I'm so glad the weather stayed dry even though it was very windy.
Many are looking forward to a time when they can get back to worshipping God together,
as good as social media is in bringing services into the home, it just isn't the same.
Our churches have become, by and large,
great in so many ways and we have missed visiting them.
We have heating, media presentations (or at least service sheets, standard and large print),
and food and drink after or before the service,
facilitating a time of fellowship.
But one thing missing from some churches today,
and outside the churches, in our individual lives,
is a true sense of worshipping God.
But think back to a time when churches had benches with no backs,
think about sitting in church in January without heat,
(not so long ago in some of our churches).
But the people had real spirit,
they went to church on a Sunday to worship God together;
and when they went home,
the family gathered around the family great big family King James Bible
and read the Scriptures and prayed.
In the last of the seven letters to the churches, from Jesus,
he tells the church of Loaodicea:
'I know you deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot;
I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm,
and neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of my mouth.
Because you say, 'I am rich, and have become wealthy,
and have need of nothing.'' Rev. 3:15-18
Many people who read Revelation wonder,
'Does that apply to our church today?'
And indeed many people think that the seven letters are seven ages
and that we are living in the last age,
the one for which these words were intended as a prophecy.
Both as individuals and as church congregations,
we need to ensure that we make a genuine, full, concentrated offering
of our time and thought when we worship God.
There is an old prayer I came across the other day which says;
'Deliver me, when I draw near to you,
from coldness of heart and wanderings of the mind,
so that with unwavering thoughts and true love,
I may worship you in spirit and in truth.'
I will confess that this is a prayer I need to prayer regularly,
as during my morning pray time I often find my mind wandering.
I do not want to become part of that big religious machine
where the Bible is only vaguely known,
and sermons are filled only with real life heart-warming stories,
where Jesus is not mentioned for fear of causing offence,
where God is mentioned rarely and the Holy Spirit is nowhere to be found.
Or the service goes through a routine where words are meaningless
and go over our heads instead of into our hearts.
Our time of isolation and lock down has given us time out to reassess our relationship with God;
to come closer to him, to give him our time and full attention.
May we benefit from this and worship him in Spirit and in truth
so that we may grow in faith and draw closer to Christ.