This past Sunday reminded me of the importance of worshipping our Lord together on a weekly basis. But, the question that came to my mind is do we really worship God together? Maybe it was the time change. Maybe is was the seating arrangement, or even the way we organized the worship service or the selection of our hymns and songs. Whatever it was, I am led to reflect on our worship together. Let's start with Scripture.
Scripture does command us in Hebrews 12:24-25 to not neglect meeting together (for worship, instruction and fellowship) as is the habit of some. You can worship alone or in small groups, but there is something special about worshipping together as a congregation of people of all ages who love Jesus.
Our Lord also commanded us in 1 Cor. 14:40 to do all things decently and in order and the context of 1 Corinthians 14 is orderly worship together with other followers of Jesus.
There are also many other passages in Scripture that deal with corporate worship such as singing together all kinds of hymns and songs with thankfulness to God (Col. 3:16), publicly showing reverence and awe to God (Heb. 12:28-29) and making a joyful noise to God with songs of praise (Psalm 95:1-11). Try searching the Scriptures to see what God tells us about worshipping Him.
Let us remove the things that hinder our worshipping the Lord together according to the Bible. Sometimes, these things may be personal such as unforgiven sin or other hindrances or distractions such as checking your cell phone for messages or e-mails. (Remember, some do use their cell phones for reading and following the Bible texts that are used in our worship service.) Another hindrance might even be an unreconciled offense someone committed against you, something that you can't seem to forget so it pops up in your mind over and over again. As we worship together our focus needs to be on the Lord alone who is worthy of all our worship and praise.
Speaking as one who is up front on the platform helping to lead others in worship, I need to share with you a big hindrance to worship in our church. It is found in where people sit.
I wish there was some easy way to remove the "overflow" seating area on the South side of our auditorium and just close that section off. I know there are more comfortable chairs in that small section, but from a congregational perspective, when you sit there it's very hard to join with others in the rows of pews worshipping the Lord. Sitting there does not contribute to unity in worship or attention to those who lead in worship, read Scripture or preach. As a preacher, it's like there's a whole other little church "over there." So, if it's your habit to sit in the overflow section, for the sake of worshipping God "together," please move over and sit in the pew sections. I know Pastor Curt Vogt will appreciate your sacrifice.
You can also help all to worship together by moving forward in the auditorium. I noticed last Sunday that there were great gaps of empty pews in the middle of our sanctuary. I plead with you to move forward and sit more together since we are to worship God together as one congregation, not three or four or more.
If you participate with us in worshipping God together but on the TV or computer screen, be as active as you can. Sing along with us, pray with us. Take notes on the sermon. Read the Scriptures with us.
Come, let us worship the Lord together.