Lessons Learned Standing Outside the Church

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Last Sunday evening during worship my 9-month-old son started getting fussy.  I took him out into the foyer and eventually had to step outside because the Lord’s Supper was being held in the foyer on this particular Sunday.  As I stood outside, I realized that I had never been outside of the building when worship was taking place.  It was a very unique experience.

First, I was able to hear beautiful singing.  Even though I wasn’t inside, I could hear voices harmonizing together and the wonderful melody pouring out of the open windows.  I was even able to pick out certain voices because of the conversations and fellowship I’ve had with these individuals.

Second, I noticed several distractions outside.  The street was busy with passing cars and people traveling to one destination or another.  My son (who loves cars) watched every vehicle until it was out of sight.  Every time a car passed by, the singing was drowned out by the road noise.  These distractions quickly cut off any connection I had with the worship inside.

Third, I saw the faces of the people in the cars.  Even though worship was taking place and there was beautiful singing to be heard, not one person looked over at the building or heard the praises being sung.  Car after car simply drove on by.  The faces I saw described people who were focused on their lives, their plans, their destinations, and people who were uninterested in worship.  These people were locked away in their cars, blocked out from God, and likely engulfed by the world.  It was sad to see people so near to a place of worship and yet so far from God.  While it’s possible not all the people I saw were lost souls, their actions and attitudes certainly pointed in that direction.

Seeing all of this outside brought me to this conclusion: It is a tremendous blessing to worship with the saints.  We have no fear of persecution or punishment for our actions.  We can open the windows and let our singing be heard by all.  There are tremendous bonds and connections with those we worship with.  When we worship, we can shut ourselves out from the world and surround ourselves in worship (Romans 12:2).  While worshipping, we can put all distractions aside and focus on the Lord (Luke 10:38-42).

Worshipping the Lord is so wonderful!  This is why it’s so disheartening to see people pass by who don’t know about this blessing.  This is also why it is so horrifying to think of some who have experienced this privilege yet choose to skip out anyway.

Hebrews 10 summarizes this thought incredibly well: “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus…let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith…Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (19, 22-25).

When the next appointed worship time comes, let’s make sure we are there and invite others to come share in this privilege.

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