How important is your time of worship? That may sound like a funny question, but it is one I wrestle with, not for my own life so much, but more when I try to understand why being in worship has been waning in our world and church. I guess I am trying to understand why attendance is waning when I have had two main factors that drive me to be in worship. These two factors are: True worship is based on the desire to honor God. I do desire to honor God and have God bless me and my family, so I will be in worship. Second, God’s guidance in the Bible on people’s need of a sabbath that includes the commandment: Remember the sabbath and keep it holy.
I am serious in trying to understand where the value of these two factors has gone in people’s lives? A friend, who grew up Roman Catholic, indicated he believes people have lost the sense of guilt that used to drive people to worship. “You did not want to anger church leaders and probably God by not attending worship.” When I hear my friend say that, I wonder if what he is saying is that people no longer fear that God will be displeased with us if we are not in worship. After all, I can have a wonderful time of connecting with God through a time of sitting by a body of water or having a great walk in the woods which is similar to worship but honestly is not quite the same. Please know I am not bringing up this subject to make people feel guilty, but I do desire to understand people today.
When I think about attending worship services, I go back to scripture and consider two lessons from there. One, I realize Jesus saw the importance of worship and made sure He was in synagogue for worship and brought God’s presence to people who could not get to synagogue on a Sabbath day by bringing God’s word to them and even healing them. Then also, there is the teaching from the book of Acts 2, where worship was crucial to the first Christians. There it states: “The believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers. A sense of awe came over everyone. God performed many wonders and signs through the apostles. … They praised God and demonstrated God’s goodness to everyone. The Lord added daily to the community those who were being saved”
My hope and prayer is that people will indeed get back to understanding the importance of being at worship. For at its most ideal, we know that in worship, we remember who God is and who we are to be as God’s people. We become renewed and re-connected to our God who loves us and desires good for us.
Finally let me remind you that throughout the bible we are reminded that God is pleased when we gather to worship and take our sabbath time. May each of us be committed to making worship and sabbath rest a priority in our life.
Peace, Pastor Dale Reese
r So Easter Day has come and gone, but honestly I am still reflecting on the topic. I laughed when a family of our church indicated they would not be celebrating Easter till two weeks after the date when the family could be together. I smiled and thought: Yes, there is the worship celebration of Easter and there is the family celebration of Easter. I fully get how the two are different.
Yet this also got me to thinking: Was your Easter 2021 much, much different (better) than Easter 2020? To be honest, because of the uncertainty that was “swirling” around us last year, and the restrictions that we were trying to adjust to, Easter 2020 was very, very difficult. Despite the significant meaning of the day, the absence of family and friends, Easter didn’t “feel” like, Easter. So, I genuinely hope that this year, you had a fantastic Easter 2021 in the variety of celebrations that Easter can mean!
But maybe we should not leave the topic of Easter as May begins and yes, I know we are almost a month removed from the official Easter day of April 4th. So here are some questions you and I need to think about: Now that Easter day is behind us, how is the influence of the Easter Event impacting you now? Is Easter making any difference when dealing with a particular sin again that tempts us? Is Easter making any difference when it feels like someone has betrayed us and the thought of vengeance enters our mind? Is Easter making any difference when we are lying in bed at night, wondering how we’ll be able to face the challenges and struggles of another day?
Easter is meant to be impactful not just as a day of Spring, but all year round. So, I hope that you will consider Easter and it’s message through this whole month of May. May has many special days including the conclusion of the month which holds Memorial Day, surely a time when we ought to remember the victory of Easter.
In closing, remember, Christ is Risen!, He is Risen indeed! It makes a difference.
Peace, Pastor Dale Reese
- Reese’s Pieces – October 2020
If you have ever walked on the walkway leading to the Trinity Tower Pavilion, you know we have three stones placed in the walkway that say: Faith, Hope and Love. The ‘Faith’ stone has been out for repair over these last few months. Interestingly, I have found in the situation some thought-provoking parable-type lessons fo
First, one may wonder what caused the ‘Faith’ stone to have problems while the others were fine? Well, it seems the ‘mower guys’, when they took their mower from one side of lawn to the other, went over what seemed like a smooth setting; however the corners of the ‘Faith’ stone were raised up above the bricks. This caused the occasional chip on the corners of the stone. What an interesting parallel to what happens with our faith sometimes. How often do things of life rolling over us cause little chips around the corners of our faith? In some ways the situation of the past few months with the Coronavirus has caused some outside chipping at people’s faith as many wonder, “Lord, when will this be done?” Many outside forces can chip away at our faith.
Then in May, when we decided to have the ‘Faith’ stone fixed since it was lifted and a bit of a tripping hazard. When we picked up the stone, we found the stone had started to disintegrate from below. (Which was why it was raised up.) I wondered, what caused this one stone to disintegrate when the others were just fine? The answer was told to me by one of the Trustees who noted this stone was closest to the parking lot, and obviously the snow piles sit here from the cleared parking lot. The snow piles, combined with the salt melting, caused the stone to disintegrate from below. Again, an interesting parallel to what happens with our faith sometimes. We let things people can’t see in our outward life, fester and erode us from below. Our faith, while it may look okay with just a few chips on top, actually has some deeper concerns.
On September 16th, we put in the newly repaired ‘Faith’ stone. We had to chisel out some parts of old stone, and smooth over a good base for the new stone. It is back in its place to witness to the world about Faith, Hope, and Love. As I stood, I pondered how all of us have times in our faith journey when we need to address issues that impact our faith. We need to clean out old parts that no longer serve in the way they were meant. We need God’s grace and forgiveness to smooth over areas of our life. Eventually, we can get our faith back on solid footing, where it can be an effective witness in our world.
Not sure where you are with your faith journey as these months of dealing with Cororonavirus impact you. My hope is that you will attend to the matters of faith, being watchful for the things that chip away and erode some of the confidence you may have had over your lifetime. God loves and cares about you. Just like having this faith stone put back in its place on the Trinity Tower walkway, May your faith be rejuvenated and strong for our world.