WERE YOU REALLY AT CHURCH LAST SUNDAY?
“We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things. We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other …” Hebrews 10:24-25 (God’s Word)
I once had a colleague who frequently bragged that he never missed church! However, as I observed his actions during the rest of the week, I questioned what he really meant by “missing”. Was he saying that he was always in attendance or does “not missing” imply that he never had much of a longing for it? Considerable emphasis is placed on church attendance; but is it possible that even though we are physically present that mentally we are far away?
As I reflected on my own church attendance I discovered that sometimes I am there as a spectacular rather than a participant! However, whose fault is that? I would guess that sometimes it is the worship leader for not selecting relevant topics; but I think in my case my own lack of concentration is to blame! Sometimes I find myself distracted by such thoughts as: “I have to remember to see so and so after the service” or I wonder how a fellow worshiper is dealing with some problem. So many potential distractions! I sometimes wonder if others experience similar difficulties in more fully engaging in the potential sanctity of the hour.
Worship is the cornerstone of a believer’s spiritual life and it is only as we learn to truly worship that we began to grow spiritually. Consequently, learning to worship should be a believer’s prime pursuit!
Might there be helpful hints to aid us of being mentally present as well as physically? A very important first step is to prepare our hearts and free our mind from our worldly cares. An important aspect to creating readiness is to enter the sanctuary with the expectation that we about to join others in acknowledging our God and opening ourselves to receiving His message for us and we need to focus in order to obtain it! Further, as we listen, it is usually helpful to consider how the message may apply to our life and attempt to relate to current happenings. I suspect that sometimes we come with little expectation that we will hear anything of importance and if we approach the worship service with that attitude, we will seldom be disappointed!
Often jotting down notes will assist us in integrating the message, if nothing else, it does assist us in focusing our attention. However, the main thought should be on expecting or hoping to discover a different dimension of our God -- -- maybe nothing completely new but a reminder to us of past learnings. Lastly, we need to keep in mind why we are in attendance and thank God for the opportunity to worship Him freely.