As we move towards resuming our in-person Sunday service (tentatively set for 12  July), I thought I’d share an article written by the principal of Malyon College, Peter Francis. Everywhere he goes, he’s finding people hankering to gather physically with other believers to worship God.  He continues…

“Singing with the church family while standing in front of your computer or flatscreen TV may be fine, especially if you’re inclined to sing out of tune, but it’s just not the same. Those casual conservations before the service, those catchups over morning tea after the service, not to mention the atmosphere as we worship together and sit under the ministry of God’s word – none of that is quite the same when we are isolated from the gathered community of God’s people – when we share face-to-face…

But what will that ‘new normal’ look like? Well, with the phased lifting of restrictions on gatherings it may look like much smaller gatherings, with people needing to sign in as they come to church; the use of sanitizer before entry; the need for socially distanced seating in the building; the end of the morning tea coffee and cake together. Certainly no handshakes, much less greeting one another with a holy kiss!  No, the “new normal” may look like something very different! We may find that the old normal patterns of community life and behaviour will be changed forever.

But rather than lamenting what we feel we have lost, maybe this will be the opportunity to embrace something new, something better in terms of the way we engage with one another and with God.

It strikes me that sometimes our familiar patterns of corporate church life may have subtly shifted the focus of our hearts’ desires away from God towards other things, things which in and of themselves were not necessarily bad, yet they have usurped God’s rightful primary place of the worship and desires of our hearts. Perhaps this season has caused us to realise that subtly we have begun to worship our worship, rather than to truly worshipping God. We have longed for our gatherings, not so much because we have desperately wanted to encounter God, but because we loved the feeling that we get when we are all together, when we catch up with our friends, at least those we prefer to identify with.   

What if, in the establishment of our “new normal”, God himself became again the main attraction, not our wonderful worship team, not our fabulous pastor, not our incredible building or our brilliant kids’ programs, but God himself!…James MacDonald wrote, “Let God himself be the main attraction at church again and let us be tireless in our insistence that church is for God, about God, through God and to the glory of His great Son.”

Coram Deo,

Mark

As we move towards gathering resuming our in-person Sunday service on the 12 July, I thought I’d share an article written by the principal of Malyon College, Peter Francis. Everywhere he goes, he’s finding people hankering to gather physically with other believers to worship God.

“Singing with the church family while standing in front of your computer or flatscreen TV may be fine, especially if you’re inclined to sing out of tune, but it’s just not the same. Those casual conservations before the service, those catchups over morning tea after the service, not to mention the atmosphere as we worship together and sit under the ministry of God’s word – none of that is quite the same when we are isolated from the gathered community of God’s people – when we share face-to-face…

But what will that ‘new normal’ look like? Well, with the phased lifting of restrictions on gatherings it may look like much smaller gatherings, with people needing to sign in as they come to church; the use of sanitizer before entry; the need for socially distanced seating in the building; the end of the morning tea coffee and cake together. Certainly no handshakes, much less greeting one another with a holy kiss!  No, the “new normal” may look like something very different! We may find that the old normal patterns of community life and behaviour will be changed forever.

But rather than lamenting what we feel we have lost, maybe this will be the opportunity to embrace something new, something better in terms of the way we engage with one another and with God.

It strikes me that sometimes our familiar patterns of corporate church life may have subtly shifted the focus of our hearts’ desires away from God towards other things, things which in and of themselves were not necessarily bad, yet they have usurped God’s rightful primary place of the worship and desires of our hearts. Perhaps this season has caused us to realise that subtly we have begun to worship our worship, rather than to truly worshipping God. We have longed for our gatherings, not so much because we have desperately wanted to encounter God, but because we loved the feeling that we get when we are all together, when we catch up with our friends, at least those we prefer to identify with.   

What if, in the establishment of our “new normal”, God himself became again the main attraction, not our wonderful worship team, not our fabulous pastor, not our incredible building or our brilliant kids’ programs, but God himself!…James MacDonald wrote, “Let God himself be the main attraction at church again and let us be tireless in our insistence that church is for God, about God, through God and to the glory of His great Son.”

Coram Deo,

Mark