The Fellowship Hall at the Roseville Church was a lively place the half hour before worship services were to begin one Sunday morning. Small groups of men and women clustered, moved apart, and then reformed into new groups.
What were they talking about?
- A grandmother showed pictures of a grandson who competed and qualified in a triathlon less than five months after a near fatal car accident.
- A woman who had endured months of hip pain was sharing encouraging medical reports from a doctor’s visit she’d received that week.
- A mom told how her adult daughter, who had been told all her life she’d never be able to drive, had bought her first car at age 27 (okay, that was me. J )
- Three women huddled to make plans to pamper a church member whose husband had been recently diagnosed with cancer.
Whoops. 9:25. The groups merged and moved into the auditorium, faces full of happiness.
When did worship begin in that small town church?
- The singing?
- The preaching?
- All of the above? And more?
Did worship begin at 9:30?
I don’t think so. I think worship began long before the published hour of 9:30. It began when people gathered and interacted with each other to share what God had done in their lives that week and as they showed support to their brothers and sisters in Christ. I’d give a guess that God was smiling big time.
Some people grumble that it’s too noisy in worship centers right before church services begin. Attenders ought to enter the sanctuary with reverence so we don’t disturb those who are already sitting quietly, contemplating the wonder of their God.
I don’t know. Something would have been missing if all those people in the Fellowship Hall had followed that idea of taking their seat without talking to each other. We would have missed out on the blessing and encouragement we received by the reports of God at work in our midst.
Psalm 100:4 says,
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
I have a feeling that those people at the Roseville Church didn’t need to be told to enter God’s courts with praise. So overwhelmed at seeing God at work in their lives in the past week, they couldn’t help themselves.
If worship is giving credit to God, telling Him how much He is worth to us, and finding ways to honor Him by serving His people, I would say that group of people, gathered around a coffee pot, were worshipping God. The worship flowed right into the auditorium. The interaction beforehand gave those excited people something tangible for which to praise their God. The stories gave them even more reason to sing with renewed meaning:
Majesty! Worship His Majesty!
Unto Jesus be all glory, honor, and praise!