I have a confession to make. Back when we had college and professional sporting events, I preferred watching them at home. Occasionally, I enjoyed the atmosphere of attending a game, but I usually thought my viewing experience was better at home. I could watch the action up close instead of straining my eyes to see from the cheap seats, and if I missed something, I could watch the replay. Basically, I liked to sit back on my couch and watch the show. Plus, I could enjoy a snack that didn’t cost $10.
We recently started live streaming our worship services, but before that, I would record the service for you ahead of time. Here is another confession: I liked drinking my coffee while I watched the service with my family in the comfort of our home. I also liked being able to pause the service when my kids were loud. I have heard similar thoughts from some of you.
While there may be some perks to online church, it is not the same. My prayer has been that this time apart will give you a strong desire to be together for worship. It is easy to take something for granted until it is taken away for a while.
Many Christians think of their faith as something they practice privately, but Scripture does not allow for flying solo. Hebrews 10:25 tells us to not give up meeting together “as is the habit of some.” The Christian faith is to be lived out with a congregation – a community of believers who meets together regularly for worship.
Colossians 3:16 explains how we are supposed to grow in our faith together. It says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
The Word of Christ dwells in us in a special way as we worship together. We confess our Christian faith together. We confess together that we are sinners in need of God’s grace and forgiveness. We sing songs together – songs that praise God and are based on truths found in Scripture. Together we listen to God’s Word being read and preached. We receive God’s grace through communion together. We pray the Lord’s prayer together.
When it comes to sports, the way you watch them is a matter of preference. You can watch them in person, or you can watch them on tv. There is no right or wrong. That is not the case for a worship service. It is not a show that you sit back and watch, or a game that you attend occasionally for the atmosphere. Instead it is something that you participate in together with your church family.
We worship together because we need our Christian brothers and sisters to encourage us, challenge us and help us live out our faith in Christ. You need them, and they need you. That is why we want to get back to worshiping physically together as quickly as possible. It is God’s design for the congregation.