Here are some thoughts sparked by the weather induced reality of not gathering as a congregation, along with ways we’ll be making the most of the Lord’s Day at home. These are just rolling off my head in no particular order.
1. I love my church family and I’ll miss them tomorrow. A lot. Not being with them on a Sunday just feels plain weird. There are people I’d love to talk to. People I’d love to pray for publicly given the circumstances of their lives. I’ll have to wait at least a whole extra day to hear how the T4G conference went for those who were there. They have a stack of free books with my name on it too! Making the call to cancel the service, although I believe the right one, is one I’d rather we didn’t have to make, for many reasons.
2. Not being able to gather with the church to sing, pray, read, sit under, and see (as in baptism & the Lord’s Supper) the Word is a weekly reality for some of our members. I don’t think I think about them as much as I should. Perhaps tomorrow would be a good opportunity for us to make a phone call to some of our people to offer a word of encouragement, prayer, or some Scripture the Lord has been pressing on us of late. I don’t want to take for granted the health and opportunity to weekly gather with God’s people. None of us should lose sight of making this a priority.
3. Not being able to gather with a local church is a weekly reality for many of our brothers and sisters around the world. Some are in danger. Some are in prison. Some will gather to sing in whispers. Take some time to remember them in prayer this Lord’s Day. Hebrews 13:3 says: “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”
4. I want to make the best use of the time tomorrow, even though we’re not gathering as a church. I want my kids to grow up thinking of and treating the Lord’s Day as, well, the Lord’s Day. They might still be in their pyjamas but we’ll take time to sing songs of worship, read Scripture, and pray. Mere and I will listen to a sermon, most likely Ligon Duncan’s from this week’s T4G conference. If you’re looking for a recommendations there are others here you can choose from. Not everyone reading this will have people in their house when they wake up tomorrow, so why not play some music that you can listen to or sing along with before feasting on God’s Word accessed through digital media. If you want some other suggestions of whose ministry to sit under, let me know. As for music suggestions, if you’re looking for something especially congregtaionally friendly, check out this. There is also this list of songs we’re curating as possibilities to introduce to our congregation.
5. I had a list of items to pray during tomorrow’s pastoral prayer. They might still show up next week, but here’s what was on my mind to bring before the Lord: Humboldt, holiness & sanctification, Syria, the family in our midst grieving sudden and tragic loss. Would you pray about these matters along with me tomorrow?
6. I will look forward with even greater anticipation to gathering with our church a week from now, and I hope you will too. May the Lord make that reuniting after being scattered for two weeks, instead of one, all the sweeter because of the prolonged absence. And may it make us long for the time when the universal church will be gathered locally around the throne of our God, and of the Lamb, to sing that new song or Revelation 5:9-10:
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.””
Grace, peace, and love in Christ,