“What About Worship?”
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts…” (Acts 2:42,46)
By now you may have heard that we have decided to postpone our services at Holy Emmanuel up through March 29th as we deal with the coronavirus threat. No doubt, some will be happy with that decision, while others may not. Whatever camp you fall into, it does raise questions about worship that need to be thought about and discussed.
Throughout the centuries, God’s people have always gathered together in worship to feed on the life nurturing word of God, and receive that grace given us through the sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. So what happens when our ability to do that is disrupted? Like when there is a bad snowstorm and we can’t get out of our driveway? Or when the threat of a virus spreading across the world makes gathering together risky, if not life threatening? Does worship then come to a screeching halt? The answer is “No!”
When we think about worship, most of us think in terms of the corporate service of the congregation that takes place on Sunday, or some other day of the week. That’s not wrong to think that way. But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg! True Christian worship isn’t just about “going to church”. It’s about life! How do we respond in our lives to the way Jesus laid down His perfect life on a cross, to save our imperfect lives filled with sin? That’s what real worship is. Such worship shows itself in a life that desires to follow God’s revealed will given in His word, and obey His commandments!
So what does this mean for us in light of recent events? As we seek to help our government limit the spread of disease, and care for the physical well-being of each other in our society, though our ability to worship together as a congregation may be temporarily put on hold, that doesn’t mean worship comes to a screeching halt! Whether we are together or not, we still have a moral responsibility to make use of God’s word in our life. This is what the third commandment “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy” is really all about. It’s not just about “church”. It’s about using the word!
Fathers, you are called to be the spiritual leaders of the families God has blessed you with. In sense, you might say every dad has been made a “pastor” over the “congregation” God has placed under his care. Now is your time to step up to the plate, and take the responsibility God has given you seriously. Read God’s word together with your family. Take a leadership role. Expound the meaning of God’s word for your wife and your children. Lead them along the path righteousness and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ! Do this by your words, as well as by the example of your life.
This of course should have been happening all along, even when we are gathering together for worship as a congregation. But it’s easy for us to become negligent in this area of our family life. So in the midst of this viral pandemic, here’s an opportunity for all of us to grow! To grow in our faith, and grow in our worship in the way we live out that faith in daily life!
So, though currently we may be separated by the miles that lie between us, nevertheless, we will continue to worship together, united as people who have been made one in the Lord Jesus Christ. As we do so, we pray and look forward to the day when we will be able to gather again as a family in corporate worship at Holy Emmanuel. We also look forward to the day when we will be gathered as one in that eternal kingdom Jesus has won for us at the cost of his life, where no virus will disrupt our worship, or separate us from one another as God’s redeemed family again!
Your brother and servant in Christ,
Pastor Paul Krentz