I once had a pre-school teacher tell me that she could tell the first week of school which children were used to going to church. How? When she called them into the “circle,” they knew how to sit quietly and still. Isn’t that interesting? Children who attend worship services know that there is a time to be “quiet” and a time to “talk.” They know what it means to have to sit still – or at least they should. I’m afraid that nowadays, we have put so much emphasis on our children being “quiet,” that we have resorted to bringing all sorts of things with us to keep them entertained. I’m guilty of it. When Aiden attended our home congregation, the song book rack was full of books, and things to keep him occupied, and even though he rarely visits anymore, his “stuff” is still there. I need to clean that out. For it is way past time for him to learn how to worship. I’m afraid that we’re raising a whole generation who doesn’t know what it means to participate in and enjoy worship.
When things got so crazy a couple of years ago, many congregations had to resort to having online services. Now, don’t get me wrong – I am so thankful that we have the technology today that enabled us to participate in worship. But, once we were able to again “gather together,” have you noticed how many people are missing? Why? They go to work. They go to school. They go to Walmart. Why are they not coming back to worship services? Have they forgotten the thrill of lifting up their voices in praise to God? They’re missing hearing our elders bring member’s names before God’s throne. They are missing in-depth Bible study. They are not able to gather around the Lord’s table and partake of the bread and the fruit of the vine. They are missing the fellowship of their Christian brothers and sisters. . . right? Surely?
But, then it dawned on me that, well, maybe – they really don’t know what they’re missing because they never learned how to worship. They attended worship services after they “grew up,” but perhaps it was because that’s what was expected of them. They went because their parents went. They grew up coloring and playing games, and they never matured to actually participating in the worship services. They didn’t get up in time to attend Bible classes, but they made it for “church.” They’d say, “Well – I can’t carry a tune in a bucket,” forgetting that Psalm 100:1 says that we are to, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” We aren’t singing to be heard of men – we are singing praises unto God. They were “going through the motions of worship.” While others may have thought they were following the scriptures on the Bible app on their phone, they were actually checking messages. Friends, are we teaching the next generation the importance of not only coming together to worship – but also how to worship? “For God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
I hate it when I have to miss worship services. My whole week is “off!” May we all feel as David felt when he said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go unto the house of the Lord” (Psalms 122:1). May we not take the opportunity to worship for granted, for we are simply blessed, Courtney
ps. My daughter, Dianne Spears made the following “Worship Guide” for Aiden to help him follow along in worship services. Please, print it and encourage your young person to use it. To God be the Glory.