March 8

Written by Bill Grandi on March 8th, 2021

Yesterday was the first Sunday of the month. During the pandemic there were a certain group of folks who refused to come to the corporate worship of the church (or anywhere else for that matter) where masks were not required. I respect their decision even though it is not mine. After almost 9 months of distance and finally dialogue, we decided to offer a masked service the fist Sunday of the month. The only caveat was those who attended must wear a mask. Our first service brought 16 people (counting me and Jo) and each subsequent month has been about the same. We missed one month because of being virtual for 3 weeks due to Covid. So on a day like yesterday, I take part in three church services.

This third one is abbreviated since we have no singing. Announcements. Prayer time. Communion. Sermon. Since we offer communion at each service (every week) and I was the one who gave the communion thought/meditation, I had to guard against going through the motions.

That’s easy to do, you know? Going through the motions.  It is so easy for that to become rote. Just “doing church” by habit rather than by allowing the Spirit to move within me. But it isn’t just communion! No, it’s just about everything: Singing. Giving. Listening. Even greeting one another can be perfunctory. No heart. No soul. No closeness.

“Doing church” is a problem we all face. Programs and policies take precedence and begin to take on a life of their own. I’m thinking of Jesus in the Temple with the sellers who took advantage of the pilgrims who ventured to Jerusalem for the Passover and to offer a sacrifice at the Temple. Jesus was livid. A total disregard for the people was something that got “under His skin.”

We can get the same way. Being in worship is no longer about meeting God but “getting it right” and “fulfilling my duty.” Shame on us when we can enjoy the sweetest of all relationships: experiencing a oneness with the Father.

“Father, forgive me when I place meeting with You in the ‘gotta do’ department. Help me to not allow worship become a ‘do church’ thing. Please help it to come alive where I sense Your Presence in my worship.”


6 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S. says:

    As you stated, “Doing Church” is a problem I think most if not all face. If not now, definitely in the future.

    I must confess, most Sunday Mornings, in many ways are that way. There are moments where I can close my eyes and engage. More often than not, I am just trying to keep the plates spinning on the end of the wooden dowels to make sure the service is going as planned.

    I know my act of service “should be” considered worship, but if I am to be completely honest… My heart is often filled with complaints.

    This passed weekend started that way, but by the end, thankfully, it didn’t end that way. Life is too short to spend it complaining. Life is too short to spend it going through the motions. God doesn’t want me to just “go through the motions of life”… God wants to give me life… Abundantly.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Being involved with all that you are on a Sunday can become an issue. I know I struggle sometimes even though I am the pastor of making sure I am not just doing things “because.” I’m glad your weekend turned out differently as it went along. You are right about one thing: life is too short to spend it complaining.

  2. Ed says:

    We have to set our hearts in place every time we worship, before we worship. We should ALWAYS be in a state of worship. Some think it’s automatic. Isn’t that strange? I believe that’s the only way that the Spirit has room to move, to direct us.
    Reminds me of when Jesus was preaching and they made a hole in the roof to lower the poor man down.

  3. When we were participating in leading the praise service, I often would question myself – am I singing for God or for the congregation? It was a great way to check my ego at the door, and I had to do that often.
    Blessings, Bill, and thanks for another great message this past Sunday!

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I think your question is a must question each person “must” ask who is involved in leading worship. And thanks for the kind words Martha. I told Jo that I honestly felt like I missed the mark Sunday. Just goes to show you that what I think is not always true.