December 2019, Vol. 38, No. 12

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I Don’t Get Anything Out of the Services

posted on December 11, 2019

[406 words]

Has worship become a lost art? I’m afraid that many of us go through the motions without ever really reaching out to God. Consequently, we tend to leave a service much as we came in. Before long there is the tendency to dismiss the whole concept of assembling for worship. At its best it is boring. At its worst it is almost unbearable. So we throw up our hands, discard church attendance, and find something to do that we really enjoy.

We see others that truly look forward to the experience, but for the life of us we can’t figure out why. Yet deep down we suspect that maybe we are the losers. Why is it that for so many folks worship services are the high points of the week? Are we made of different clay? Or is it that we don’t know the first thing about what they are doing?

I have discovered that true worship demands preparation. How can anyone be in the right frame of mind if he has stayed up late Saturday night, forced himself out of bed with the sound of the alarm, argued with his wife, and threatened his children with death if they don’t get a move on? This is followed by piling into the car, driving faster than we should, arriving late, and having to stumble over people sitting on the ends of the pews to find a seat in the middle. And to add insult to injury, the preacher stands up and delivers a sermon on giving. I’m angry when I come in, and mad when I leave. It would take a miracle for me to get anything worthwhile out of a situation like that.

On the other hand, let’s suppose that I get a good night’s sleep on Saturday. I awake feeling refreshed. I have time to get ready without rushing. I arrive early (if I had my way one would have to park the car and walk about a block on a winding sidewalk through the trees to reach the front door of the church house) and greet the other worshipers. I take my seat with several minutes to spare. During this time I read the scriptures, meditate and pray. When the service does start I am in the spirit. I receive a blessing because I have prepared myself to receive a blessing.

The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the service. It’s in ourselves.

John Gipson
Little Rock, AR

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