Got back from church a little while ago. We’re attending a nearby congregation while I am between pulpits.
Lately I have been thinking about worship not being a consumer activity but a producer activity. I must come to give (worship to God), not to get (entertainment in some form). I am trying to focus my concentration more deeply on what is going on and ignore any perceived idiosyncrasies on the part of the various presenters or worship leaders. I am paying special attention to the content conveyed by words.
This morning we sang the old song, “Sweet Hour of Prayer.” This church displays the words of the songs, using PowerPoint, on a large screen at the front of the auditorium. Scripture texts are usually done that way too.
One line in the song went, “Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer, that calls me from a world of care.” Rather than think about what kind of job I thought the song leader was doing or how I thought the congregation as a whole sounded, I thought about the concept of prayer removing us from the cares, trials, and struggles of this world. I had to make a conscious effort to do that. Satan wanted me to think about the song leader or how everyone else was singing. I had to defeat him, with God’s help, and more properly engage my thoughts.
When I got my mind under control, I began to think about Jesus on at least one occasion spending an entire night in prayer. I reflected on what a relief that must have been for Him as He faced mounting opposition to His ministry. I began to think how prayer would draw me closer to God and diminish my worldly cares. I saw an increased value to prayer which motivated me to want to improve my prayer life. All of this happened because I tried to get out of “me” and into God. And here’s the amazing part, singing that one line of that one song took maybe 10 seconds. What if I could do the same thing with an entire one hour service?
The church of me is really the church of the devil. “Me” thinking is exactly the kind of thinking Satan is working for. If, with God’s help of course, I can defeat me, I can defeat Satan. With the path cleared of Satan, the road to God, the highway to heaven, is wide open. I don’t want to be a member of the church of me. I want to be a member of the church of Christ.