A new week has started. Sunday began our week. What did you do with your Sunday? Did you take time to worship this week? Why worship? Because it is the time when we have to go to God's house, hear His Word, be fed from the Sacrament, be strengthened in our faith, to join with our fellow Christians, to give support to the struggling, to receive support from others, to lift up our hearts in prayer, to take time out of our busy lives for an hour to be in the presence of God, to be uplifted, to be admonished, to be challenged, to be helped, to be a Child of God coming to our Father's house to hear the good news from our Father - that is why we should worship.
I love the weekend. Not for the reason that most people love it. For many people it is the end of the work week. They don't have to go to the office, the factory, the job, the daily grind. They can sleep in or get up and get going. They can work in they yard, around the house or go for a bike ride. They can enjoy the free time to go to the store without having it be on the way home from work before they have to get home to prepare supper, help the kids with the homework, mow the grass, do the laundry and talk to the parents. Weekend is a time of rest for most people.
For me the weekend is time to worship! Yes, it is time to worship. Three services - lots to prepare, lots to be ready for, lots to do. Setting all that aside, it is time to worship. I get to go to God's house. Not once, not twice but three times! Most people come in for the hour and rejoice when they can walk out, especially when it is under an hour. Me, I love coming into the house of God, getting there early, watching the sun rise (Sunday) or set (Saturday), talking with God, knowing that "God is in His temple..." and rejoicing that I have that opportunity to bring the Word of God to His people. I pray for the members to be drawn to the house of God. I ask Him to open my up to the wonder of the Word, the marvel of the Sacrament and the joy of the service. I get excited when people start to arrive. I am happy to see them, to know that they came back once again, despite hearing the ramblings of a their pastor the week before. And I know, at that moment when the bell rings, that they are in church, not because of me but because they desire what God has to offer. I give thanks for each person that is there and pray for those that are not. My heart breaks for those who are not able to attend worship for a variety of reasons (health, work, etc.) and for those who do not desire to attend worship. I pray that the Holy Spirit would touch their hearts and open them to the wonder of the Word, the marvel of the service.
Then we begin. O how great it is to hear the people sing. But even if there would be no singing, I would lift up my voice. I can't help but sing. God has saved me. He has forgiven me. He has called me by that wondrous Gospel. He has brought me to His house. He has promised to feed and care for my soul and my body. So I sing! I love the hymns, the songs, the joy that it brings to my heart.
Before I know it, the service is over. And I am surprised. I can't believe the hour is already past. I wish we had another 5 minutes, another 10 minutes but I know that it would cause some strain in people's lives to stay longer. Just one more song! But no, the benediction is given, the song is sang and we great one another at the door. All too soon, the house of God is empty of people. It is just God and me. And I know He is there. He is smiling. He has touched the hearts of each person that came through the doors. It doesn't matter if it is 5 or 500. He is smiling. God has invited, we have responded, He rejoices! Thanks be to God for worship.
So it is Monday. Did you begin your week with worship? I pray that you have a blessed week. In all that happens, know this - God is with you!