“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem!” (Psalm 122:1-2 NKJV). It was the cry of God’s people as they made their way to worship before the Lord in that blessed city. There was a joy in joining with the “tribes of the Lord” to worship. Now, that does not mean that the trip up to Jerusalem was easy. Many of the worshippers would travel long distances over rugged, even dangerous, terrain in order to meet the Lord together. And yet, there was a gladness to know that the journey ended in His powerful presence.
During my recent quarantine, I was reminded how essential corporate worship is. It is the place where we collectively meet God. Now before you decide to school me in theology, I recognize that the Spirit dwells in each one of us; and thus, His presence is not contained in a specific place like a temple. I also know we can (and even should!) worship individually and in our families. Yet, early believers understood how important it was to worship as a community of faith. We must be connected as a body. Indeed, I contend that gathering with God’s people is paramount to our spiritual, mental, and even physical well-being. I’m thankful I could worship with you the past couple of weeks through the technological means God has afforded us. Such a medium allowed me to taste the crumbs when I could not feast; it provided elements of survival. I was truly reminded that worship on the sofa is not the same as worship in the Sanctuary. So, this week I echo the words of the worship pilgrim: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord’” because I plan to be back in person this Sunday!
And like those earlier worshippers, I am preparing myself to “give thanks to the name of the Lord” (Psalm 122:4d NKJV). Our Lord is so good even in the midst of troublesome days! He provides for us when we don’t deserve it! He is faithful even when we are not! How we should give thanks . . . together! My friends, we should not lose hope because of a virus, because of social unrest, because of destructive storms, or even by the political turmoil around us. Instead, we must praise Him in the midst of the difficulties; we must give thanks and worship Him even in this painful season.
I do not know when our Lord will return, but I believe it is imminent. Each day that passes means that we are closer to that moment; and with that realization, there is a renewed sense of urgency. We must be winning people to Christ. We must be seeking to reconcile our brothers and sisters in their relationships. We must be standing on our convictions. We must be growing to look more like Him. We must be worshipping Him alone. We must be faithful. Now, perhaps more than ever, we need each other to accomplish His work. Thank you for who you are and how you have already served. May He use this upcoming Sunday to rekindle the love we have for our Lord as we study the Revelation, and may He spur us to greater devotion to Him! See you Sunday!