Thought for the week
Acts 2:42 gives us some insight into what the early church did when they met together. 'They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.' Presumably, we can add to that list 'singing the psalms' (see for example Mark 14:26).
So the very first church gathered every day in the Temple courts and in their homes (Acts 2:46), and they 1) listened to scriptural teaching, 2) enjoyed fellowship and encouraged each other, 3) broke bread (both as an act of hospitality and an act of communion/remembering Jesus), 4) prayed and 5) sung together. This was their pattern of worship.
In many ways, our worship today looks similar (except we only meet once a week!). 1) We listen to Scripture and teaching from it, 2) we enjoy fellowship usually after the service, 3) we have morning tea, 4) we have times of prayer and 5) we sing together.
Worship, and especially communal worship (when we worship God along with others), is still important today. In worship, we praise God for who God is and what God has done. But in worship, we also are formed, changed, transformed to be more like Christ. As we spend that time dwelling on God, engaging with Scripture, encouraging one another and praying together, we honour God and humbly put ourselves in a place where God might work in us.
That doesn't mean that the way we worship God today is the way we always have to do things. We can be creative in worship: thoughtful and imaginative. We can try fresh ways of offering our worship to God and see how that resonates with how God has made us. That's not to say that worship is about us or our own preferences, but it acknowledges that God has made us to worship him and there are different ways we can do that in line with how God has created us.
Perhaps this week, you might like to try a different way of worshipping God. Perhaps a different way of praying, a different way of reading Scripture, using the arts (poetry, art, dance, etc), worshipping or reflecting on God and the gospel in different locations (in nature, outside a courthouse, inside the library). And as we explore and enjoy experimenting with creative ways of worshipping God, that in itself is an act of worship. Worship is anything that would direct our mind and heart to the God who is revealed in Scripture. God bless you as you worship him this week.
Weekly Prayer Points
Pray that God will continue to challenge us about how we are following Jesus as we prepare our hearts for Easter.
Pray for our children and young people that God might be deeply at work within them. Pray for our leaders and our church that we might be a place that is hospitable to the needs of our younger ones as they grow as citizens of the Kingdom of God and citizens of our nation.
Pray for our country and our government as we continue to wrestle with what Covid means for us. Pray that we will be a country that loves our neighbours deeply. Pray especially for those who are feeling anxious and uncertain, that the peace of God will be upon them and that they will have good people around them supporting and encouraging them.