February 28th – Been To Church Lately?



Robert Louis Stephenson once said “I’ve been to church, but I am not depressed”. A cynical comment, or a bit too near the truth?
Here are some other things said by people- millions of them, after they’ve been to church:
“Nobody spoke to me”
“It was mournful and irrelevant – a rigmarole”
“It was too charismatic – can’t stand all that clapping and mindless noise”
“It all went over my head”
“I came away more depressed than when I went in” – which is where we came in with Robert Louis Stephenson.
Now, believe me, I do take all such comments seriously since worship is supposed to be the highest, loveliest, most revolutionary activity of which human beings are capable. If it isn’t, we Christians have got something catastrophically wrong. But the big flaw in all such criticisms of going to church to worship is this: Worship is not for us – it’s for God. It has nothing to do with whether I like it or not! The real issue is, is it what God wants? Worship is for God – for God alone. It’s supposed to change us, not Him. If we worship our preferences, then that has become an idol.
Incidentally, Robert Louis Stephenson was moved to tears once as he, in the street outside a church, heard the great “Amen” rise like thunder from a worshipping congregation within. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth. John 4: 23, 24
When I worship you Lord, quicken my conscience by your holiness, feed my mind on your truth, purge my imagination with your beauty, open my heart to your love and devote my will to your purposes (Adapted from William Temple)
Now read Ezekiel 33: 30-33 and see the difference between an audience and a congregation.

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