The Day Nobody Went to Church (But We Worshiped)
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There has never been a day like this in the history of the world, a day when nobody can go to church. Quarantine laws activated to stop large gatherings and prevent the spread of coronavirus has kept us home rather than gathering in our places of worship.
But despite the mandate, worship services are being held everywhere online. Last week as I curled up in bed waiting for my church to start its live-stream service, I scrolled through my Facebook feed. Every other post in my feed seemed to be somebody’s church somewhere either worshiping or preaching the Word. There has never been a day on Facebook like it.
Buffering was a problem. Servers were overwhelmed. One of my friends commented, “When the world runs church on Facebook, I’m not sure Facebook can handle all this goodness.” Despite the problems, we were able to watch.
Faith Can’t Be Stopped
Though scripture tells us to gather, we must obey the laws and be wise. Though this is a frightening time for many, let’s give God a big shout-out. God was glorified in the middle of a pandemic last week. In one big voice all over the internet we claimed that God is good, and He is victorious. We didn’t need to be under one roof. We proclaimed His goodness from our living rooms, our beds, our kitchens, and that proclamation beamed all over the world.
We experienced tangible evidence of
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” NIV
Yet, worshiping God is not done only by attending a worship service, singing, and listening to a sermon. We also worship him through serving others.
Community During the Crisis
We often look within and focus on our own needs and frustrations during crises rather than looking toward whom we can help or bless. But now, more than ever, we need to be on the watch for whom we can help. Even if you are at high risk, needing to hibernate from the world, you too can make a difference as a prayer warrior, card sender, and phone angel. Call the ones you know could use some Sonshine.
Here are five scriptures and prompts to help position our hearts for service. All scriptures are from the NIV translation.
, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."
Prompt: Worship is more than singing and hearing a sermon. Worship involves service. Write a note of encouragement to someone you know needs it.
, "The greatest among you will be your servant."
Prompt: Do you have anyone in your life who you depend on to serve you in some way? How can you serve them this week?
, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms."
Prompt: I know you have a gift. Is it baking? Art? Encouragement? Mechanics? Ask the Lord to show you how to use your gift. Pray, “Lord, I don’t know who it is, but put them in my path to share the gift you’ve given me. Amen.”
, "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality."
Prompt: I love this scripture. I feel like it sums up our life right now. I know we are practicing social distancing, but my husband and I have invited a few people over to share a meal. We can also cook for people who can’t get out, or we can go to the store for them. If you need more ideas on how to help people in quarantine read Rosally Saltsman’s article: 10 Things You Can Do for People in Quarantine.
, "God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them."
Prompt: According to this scripture, we show Jesus our love for him as we help others. Start with showing Jesus your love by checking on your neighbors.
, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"
Prompt: When we serve others, we’re serving Jesus. Pray for eyes to see people like he sees them. Let’s love Jesus lavishly today.
Let’s Pray First
Before we go out there and worship God through serving others, let me pray us up. Hold my hands.
“God, you are so good and kind to us. Nothing takes you by surprise. This disease is causing fear and death in our world, but Lord, help us rise up as men and women of faith to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Let us participate with you as you work in this crisis for good. Help us serve our neighbors. Let our service be our act of worship. No church building required. Amen.”
Copyright © 2020 Andy Lee, used with permission.
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