I get the draw to online worship.
For the last two weeks, we were in Corona Quarantine, so we experienced a casual Sunday morning. We rolled out of bed and got to watch online. There was no fighting to get the kids ready and no running late. We didn’t have to get dressed, and when we were done, we got to return to our casual Sunday morning.
It was easy, and it was comfortable.
When we got done, I turned to Jill and said, “I get why people could get used to this.” And I fear that many of us have gotten used to it.
I know for some of us, you need to stay home. You have a family member who is in the high-risk category, and you want to be able to see them. I also understand the temptation to stay away because it’s tough to have your kids in worship. For some, it’s cumbersome to be in worship because of the masks.
But we belong to a Savior who gave up comfort to take up discomfort for our sake – “even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8).
His people are told to have the same mindset (Philippians 2:5). Comfort and the Christian life are often at odds with each other.
Throughout redemptive history, the Lord has used plagues to both cull and refine his people. What comes out of the plague is a more faithful remnant.
I think one of the idols he is going after is our love of comfort and ease.
My family will tell you that it is one of my core idols – probably the one that causes the most pain in our family. At the heart of most of our hearts is the belief that my life is supposed to be about my pleasure. And instead of Jesus turning that over in our hearts when we come to him, we expect him to fit into that narrative.
But the gospel is about death and then life. We are to die to ourselves (Luke 9:23). We are to crucify the passions of the flesh (1 Peter 4:1). We are to work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12).
Now let’s circle back to worship. Worship is not primarily for what we get but what we give. We give glory and honor to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit. And we do this together. Corporately. God has made a people for his own possession (1 Peter 2:9).
We have to gather in person. This is a command (Hebrews 10:25). When the people of God gather together for worship, a time and space hole opens in the fabric of the universe — heaven and earth meet.
“But you [plural, “y’all”] have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.” (Hebrews 12:22-23)
You do not get the same reality at home in your pajamas. You may get something good from it, and good is better than nothing. But let’s not think that FaceTiming a relative into the dinner table is the same thing as having that family member at the table.
So, for the time being, some may need to settle for the substitute. I get that, and God in his kindness will sustain you in these extraordinary times. Please do not forsake the Lord’s Day worship all together. If necessary, watch the live stream. That is why we are giving it as an option.
But if you are just staying at home and watching because it is easier and more comfortable. Well…we need to repent.
We need to be willing to put our love of comfortable to death, pick up our cross, and follow Jesus by attending to the work of corporate worship.