What were you thinking about on the way to church last Sunday? Was it the songs you were going to sing? The topic of the sermon for that day? Were you even thinking about the service or were you busy listening to the radio, talking to the family or embroiled in an argument that started back at home? Don’t feel bad, you’re no different from the majority of modern day churchgoers. Going to worship on Sunday morning is a habit that practice as Christians but for most, we have lost the anticipation factor of the event. If God actually condescended to descend into the midst of our casual worship, most present would run in horror to the exits.
Worship is a part of our lives but it is not a priority in our lives.
“If the Lord is to be Lord, worship must have priority in our lives. The first commandment of Jesus is, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:30) “ Foster. If worship becomes a priority, that is, our first love, we will be in a state of anticipation believing with all of our strength that God will make His presence known, felt, and real when we worship alone or with our community. Appearing before the altar unprepared will no more cross our mind than we would take the starting line of a marathon after sitting in our offices all winter.
To prepare ourselves for worship is to worship individually. We need to know the Shekinah in the our hearts. Start now. Stop reading and open your heart to God’s presence. Praise Him for this moment and the next breath and seek His presence. Don’t give up until it is real. God does not want half-hearted seekers. He wants His people to desire to know Him above all else. Make this a habit so that you know when the Lord is present. Build up the ability to wait for the Glory to descend on your waiting heart, whatever it takes.
If each member of the community worships on their own, the expectancy of God’s presence on the corporate gathering will grow in our hearts. We will seek to be with others who are prepared to know the Glory together, to have it multiplied by all of the hearts open and ready to receive it. The Glory will be manifest in the Church and Jesus can use it to draw others to himself. People will come from far and wide to see what the fuss is about.
Going to church is not the same going to worship. We can continue to go for social purposes, to hear a nice talk, and to go through the motions of watching as someone else sings some songs. Or we can move worship into a priority position in our lives and commit ourselves to a program of intentional worship, always wanting to know a greater and greater presence of His unmatchable Glory.
Grace and peace to you.
image Stephen Burch