ADVENT REFLECTION: Our places of worship become a touching place of joy and awe
Dear friend, our places of worship become a touching place of joy and awe when we experience the glory of the Lord. Today, we do not have the Ark of the Old Covenant containing the Torah or the ten commandments placed in our chapels, Jesus has replaced the Ark therefore through Him we experience the glory of the Lord. It is important to note that before the glory of God manifested in the Temple, “King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered. Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim.” (1 Kings 8:5-6). A careful study of the altar and the act of sacrifice in Scripture teaches us that anytime sacrifices are properly done to honour God, His glory is revealed. Our worship places will not become touching if the Lord does not reveal His glory or manifest His presence through the appropriate sacrifices.
What then do we sacrifice in our time if we truly want to experience the glory of God and have a touching experience at our places of worship? Paul gives us the answer when he wrote that “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship”. (Romans 12:1). Dear friend, Jesus has done the ultimate sacrifice for our salvation but if we desire to experience the glory of God at our worship places then we must always appear before God by offering our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him. We represent the sheep and goats that were sacrificed in the past. We must present our best to the Lord when we come to worship together in His temple. We must learn to be serious at our worship places and take every single activity done at the worship place as our sacrifice to the Lord. Those who are into the music or singing ministry must have time to rehearse very well before ministering during worship services. Those preaching must prepare adequately, both spiritually, morally, physically and emotionally before entering the pulpit to preach, all other liturgical actors such as the Bible readers and liturgists must come to church prepared. All other worshippers who are non-liturgical actors also must understand that they are equally living sacrifices before the Lord, therefore, they must appear decent, and serious and be ready to follow the order of service and all other activities that will lead to successful corporate worship. Beloved in the Lord, it is impossible to experience the place of worship as a touching place if you come to church and spend your time fidgeting with your phone whiles worship service is ongoing, some people come to church only to chit-chat on the pews while service is ongoing, others galavant around the church premise as if they are attending a mere social event, others are mere busy-bodies paying attention to trivialities when they ought to actively participate in the worship service. It is possible to be attending church services now and then yet we shall be told “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21).
Advent season offers us the opportunity to re-examine our spiritual lives and to put our daily activities and worship lives into perspective. Do we offer ourselves as living sacrifices to the Lord by our way of life and approach to worship services? Do we experience the glory of God when we attend worship services or when we observe our devotions? Paul admonishes us that “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2). May we always have a touching experience in the house of God even as we avail ourselves to Him as His living sacrifices.
Holy Spirit, direct our path and help us to offer ourselves as living sacrifice pleasing to the Lord so that we will continually experience His glory in our lives. May our worship places become a touching place of repentance, awe and revival devoid of mere entertainment and fanfare. Amen.