A couple of weeks back, we were at a worship service in a church here in Saint Louis. The worship was intense and the atmosphere was so beautiful. It was a midweek worship service so the chruch was 90 percent empty…. the crowd was thin but the service nevertheless was so heavenly. My husband, myself and Jaden were kinda seated in the last row of the church. A couple of rows before us were seated two teen girls playing with their cell phones laughing about something and totally disconnected from whatever was going inside the church. To them it was more or less a playpark where they were ‘just hanging out’.
It really disturbed me quite deeply. Why was there no reverence to the place called church, the place where the Spirit of God hovers???!!!
But you know what??? I would be a hypocrite if I hid this thing when narrating to you this story. I, as a teenager have done the same thing that these two teen girls were doing. I sat along with my friends Cynthia, Pauline and Judy. We cared little about what was being sung or preached. We just yapped n yapped (quietly of-course)…. until the service was over… n after the service was over we came out the church n yapped again.
Today I feel miserable that I did that. I feel shameful that I didn’t have reverence to the presence of God, the church. But yes…. I did it in ignorance and since I am genuinely repentant about it, I’m sure God has forgiven my guilt.
But what bothers me much today is that genuine, saved, believers don’t see the importance of showing reverence to the place called the church, where the Spirit of God moves. When I walk into church I see people chewing gum, using their cell phones and what not!!! I once saw a lady sitting cross legged and right under her feet was the Word of God!!!! We don’t have in America preachers who speak to you on your face!!! My pastor in India, Rev Johnson Varghese, pastor Bethel AG church, told from the platform with his firm baritone voice… “Don’t you dare sit cross legged in the presence of God!!! Learn to respect God and be seated with reverence in the presence of our Mighty God!!!” Those words are still ringing in my ears…
In India where the population is predominantly Hindu, you must see the kind of reverence they show, before getting into their temples!!! Their footwear is left outside the temple…… Remember what God spoke to Moses about the ‘place’ where Moses stood… God said that it was Holy Ground, coz God was there!!! God commanded Moses to take His footwear off!!! Hindus seem to be abiding by it more than Christians are!!!! I can’t even imagine Moses chewing gum, or sitting casually, or fiddling with his cell phone when He was meeting with God!!! Can you imagine Moses doing that??? Then Why do we do such things inside God’s sanctuary, where our Mighty God dwells!!!???!!!!!
In the old testament, the Ark of the Covenant was a symbolic representation of the place where God dwelt. And when people showed irreverance to it in any measure, they ‘instantly’ died.
Today we live under the covenant of grace and we may not instantly die for showing such irreverance, but nevertheless we must understand that we do grieve the Spirit of God as He hovers in His sanctuary!!! Carefully read the scripture below…
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. – Psalm 96:8,9
Well…. how many of us really ‘tremble’ before Him??? Have you given it a thought???
May God bring conviction into our hearts as we commit to change our ways and live lives that truly revere his name, this season of Lent and always!!!
Have a fantastic month ahead!!!