As local churches begin to assemble again in larger groups, church leaders contemplate how to assure safety for those assembled while still pleasing God and encouraging one another. If you have worshipped in different settings than normal in recent weeks, how have you done so? Have you watched a service online? Have you participated in the Lord’s Supper? If you did, did you use elements provided by your church or bake your own bread and buy your own grape juice or wine? Have you sung or only listened? Have you prayed? Do you think that your relationship with God has improved during this time of displacement, or has it declined? Have you missed the assembly of fellow Christians, the engaging in fellowship in worship with like-minded believers?
I posted this poem that I had written a few years ago, reflecting on how empty pews testify to believers’ priorities and choices. Now, some pews remain empty for different reasons, but they still command our attention. We still must assess our priorities, but also must examine how our love for God and one another are reflected in how we serve and worship together, what we consider most important. I believe that Christians must seize opportunities to serve and to seek reconciliation during this time of pandemic and civil unrest. Study the Bible carefully and pray vigorously for wisdom during a time when temptation to argue and act for division abounds. I begin Call for Fire seminars by examining Isaiah 59, where God observes injustice and sees to his chagrin that no one is stepping forward to act for what is right. God then puts on his armor, some parts of which are identical to the armor of God that Christians are to put on according to Ephesians chapter 6:10-18. I invite you to reflect on my poem and to pray with me that as “the empty pews sing sadly, [that God will] ignite again faith’s fire.” Pray hard, my friends
The empty pews sing softly, echoing back melodic tones
Wafted by faithful worshipers scattered in erratic zones
Through a hall reserved for moments of joy and grief,
Exultation and lament, fervor and hopeful belief
In Messiah Jesus, Son of God, Messenger of the Most High,
Sent by you, O God, to expose Satan’s greatest lie,
A bald-faced assertion that we need never repent,
An insistence that we never request, that we need not
Your forgiveness, a denial of need for redemption bought
By your Son’s blood, a ghastly, obscene sacrifice
Decried as amateur stagecraft, a vain artifice
Meant to deceive, so we are told by the great Deceiver,
Who argues skillfully against one becoming a believer.
We still sing, and we still pray, so his wily lies to drown
With songs and calls for fire that you his quest will down.
The empty pews sing sadly of Christian faith surrendered,
View original post 46 more words