The Heart of Worship...
Back in March, I wrote a posting reflecting on all the changes that we were facing as a church (and really as a society) because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Well now, a month and a half later, I’m still reflecting on change, but it’s focused on what church will look like moving forward.
See, while we have settled into our physically distant routines by now, the days are coming when eventually, we will be able to meet together again for corporate worship. The question is what will that look like?
I’ve been reflecting on some of the changes that may have to take place as we begin to think about relaunching. Things like how we receive tithes and offerings, seating and how many people we can accommodate for worship at a given time. Potentially, even things like how we worship may need to change. As Covid is passed through droplets, we have to give serious thought to activities like singing and playing brass instruments. I know it’s tough to imagine Edmonton Temple without those things - but it may be a necessary step during our transition and relaunching.
Now, this is not meant to be discouraging. It’s not even meant to begin to convey any planning that will happen over the coming weeks and months. But this is a call for us to spend some time reflecting on what really matters about church. To quote the lines of a worship song we sometimes sing, “When the music fades, and all is stripped away, and I simply come…” what does that look like?
I had a conversation with someone this week (while obeying all physical distancing rules) about this very matter. They shared how they’ve spent time praying for God’s Holy Spirit to move at our church, to bring new life, to bring revival. And in their prayer time, they were reminded to include a sacred and mature prayer… “And God, when you move and do new things, help me to be open to it, and to accept the change that may come with it.”
That my friends, is a very hard prayer to pray - and a very necessary one. In Isaiah, the prophet delivers a message that God would be doing a new thing (see Isaiah 43). And when time came and God delivered on his promise, it was rejected by the church leaders (See John 11:53; Matthew 13:13).
One of my favourite sayings is, “there is nothing beyond God’s redemption.” God can absolutely redeem this whole situation. And maybe He is already doing it. Just think about it. We still preach and study His Word through the use of technology. We still connect with one another and build the church (the people) through phone calls, Facetime and face to face meetings held 6 feet apart. We still provide support services to our community, meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those who require assistance during these tough days. We are still the church of God, working out our salvation through relationship with Jesus Christ and through acts of service and love to those around us.
Yes, I get it - it's not the same. I miss meeting together for corporate worship. I miss hearing our band and songsters and sharing together at Edmonton Temple. I miss the atmosphere of worship in our church building, I miss looking in your eyes as I share God’s word. I miss how God’s Spirit, enters in and meets with us as we gather together. And eventually you know, we will have that blessing again!
But maybe, just maybe, for this season, God is calling His church (the people) to worship Him in different ways: to grow in our spiritual walk through discipline and by creating time to sit and watch recorded worship. To make time to read our bible and to pray daily. Maybe God is redeeming this season by inviting us to try something new like a Zoom Bible Study or Digital Baby Song; maybe it's something that may that add a different dimension or perspective to our spiritual walk, like sharing digital devotions.
And so, when the music fades… when all is stripped away… will we simply come?
I’m coming back to the heart of worship: and it's not about the things I can't do, the places I can't go, or things I'm missing. It’s all about you, Jesus.