From the numerous phone calls that I’ve made during lockdown, I realise that there are many, many things that we, as individuals, have missed, and are looking forward to getting back to, but if you had to put them in order of desire I wonder what that order would look like?
I ask the question “in order of desire” rather than “in order of importance” for the simple reason that the second can be simply answered from an intellectual point of view, the first speaks more to our emotions and to our heart. For example if I asked you “which is more important for you to eat for lunch today, a salad and fruit or a burger and ice cream?” you might well answer “the salad and fruit” but if I asked which do you more desire to eat….” the answer might well be different!
So, my question is not which do you know to be most important, but rather which do you most desire – which have you most missed? Ideally, of course, the two will give exactly the same answer: return to corporate worship.
In Psalm 42 the psalmist speaks of what is both most important to him AND what is most desirous to him – to be able to worship God in the presence of the saints –
Psa 42:1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
Psa 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
Psa 42:3 My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me all the day long, “Where is your God?”
Psa 42:4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.
Psa 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation
Here is a man who is truly desperate for things to be back as they once were, and he might have many reasons for that, but one, and one only, stands out in his own mind AND heart and that is that he might once again go up with others to worship God in His house.
I was speaking to a church leader from another church a couple of days ago and he made an interesting comment – they have been using ZOOM for their services, and he said that the church had adapted to it well and become very comfortable with it and then after a moment’s pause added “not too comfortable I hope”, and we all understand his concern. 21st (c) technology is awesome isn’t it? If this had happened at the turn of the Millennium there would have been no YouTube, no WhatsApp, no Facebook, Facetime, Skype, ZOOM, no mobile phones. Go back to when I was a teenager not even PCs. I guess the best we could have attempted would have been as it was in Spurgeon’s day when his sermons were reproduced in print and circulated to others in written form.
And these technologies are so convenient, so reliable, and so good that they give a very real sense of actually being there!
BUT, and it is a massive but, no technology enables us to satisfy the Bible’s concept of church, for the simple reason that no technology actually brings us physically together as a people where we can gather together in Christ’s presence for worship.
Jesus once said Mat 18:20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.“
So I want to say a really big Thank You to all of my brothers and sisters who were at plfc last Sunday. And for those who were not able to be there, can I assure you that I am praying for you, that you too will soon be able to be there with us as we gradually become, once again, His church at Pound Lane.