Food for Thought: Meaningful Worship in a Pandemic

Rev. Johnny Wang

When something big like the Coronavirus (COVID 19) Pandemic of 2019 hits, it catches our attention. Are church people, both leaders and members, ready for the unannounced and sudden arrival of the disruptions of such magnitude? Worship services, undoubtedly are one of most important activities in Christian church ministry that can be disrupted by any of the following: wars, natural disasters like storm and flood, human mistakes in forest fire, political and religious persecutions and in the destruction of church and temple buildings, in denial of freedom in assembly and practices, and health pandemics as seen in history and at our doorsteps. The signs of success in 21st century in world business are big, more, and eye-catching; Church “business” is not exempted from such in opinion polls.

When church attendance is affected, take worship for example, what are our immediate and long-term measures for now and for time to come? Thank God for on-line digital modern miracles that keep believers connected. However, this is not the ideal long-term solution to having close-distance fellowship with God and fellow-Christians.

According to Jeremiah Chapters 7 and 8, three things are suggested that we do with regards to meaningful worship:

FIRST, approach worship with “clean hands” (Jer. 7:1-12). Look for holiness in your personal life. Holiness is God’s 20/20 vision into our lives! Don’t be a virus carrier in close contact with other worshippers that would cause trouble in worship places, the church!

SECOND, approach worship with a “sincere desire” (7:21-24). Obey the voice of the Lord. Do what the Law says in the 15-day Shelter in-Place order. In simple language, don’t just hear, but have a desire to do! Don’t just say, but act upon it! Isaiah chapter one points out His displeasure in many things found in worshippers in their insincerity. God loves His people to worship Him in spirit and in truth!

THIRD, approach the worship with repentance, for there is always physician for recovery (Jer. 8:4-7;20-22). There shall be other viruses that can cause trouble in our lifetime. If Christians say that they have no sin; they lie! Christians win over sin by confessing and by coming before Christ whose blood cleanses all our sins for Father God’s justification.

Collectively, the church is a Christian group. Worship is a collective Christian gathering. Numbers and locations matter little. Just imagine when the worship service is full of virus-free people in close fellowship, who should care about BIG, MORE, AND ATTENTION; this worship has it all. I shall have no need to look for another church nor another kind of worship service. Dear fellow servants of the Lord, hang loose; and by being faithful to Him and His words, spread the Gospel. My fellow-Christians, true peace can only be found in our Lord; and, there is always physicians and balm available for healing in Christ.”
3/23/20)

Rev. Johnny Wang is an Advisor and a past President of the Chinese Baptist Fellowship of the US and Canada. He and his wife, Vivian, live in San Francisco, California.

大流感期中作有意義的崇拜

王其昌牧師

當像2019年的冠狀病毒(COVID 19)這樣的大流行來襲時,它引起了我們的注意。作為教會中人,無論是帶領者還是成員,我們是否都準備好怎樣應對這突如其來的的巨大的干擾和破壞?崇拜無疑是教會事工中最重要的活動之一,可被以下何一件事情中斷:戰爭,天災,如暴風雨和洪水,人禍,如森林大火,政治和宗教迫害,以及對教堂和宗教殿堂的破壞,禁止集會和履行宗教活動的自由,以及在歷史中和就在眼前的大流行等。 國際商業在21世紀在中取得更大和更多的成功標記,並更引人注目;教會的“生意”在民意調查中也不例外。

當教會的出席人數受到影響時,以敬拜為例,在現在和將來,我們將會採取哪些近期和長期的措施?感謝上帝提供了在線數據化通訊等現代奇蹟,讓信徒能保持聯繫。但這不是與上帝和與其他基督徒親密團契的理想長期解決方案。

關於有意義的敬拜,耶利米書7-8章建議我們做三件事。

首先,用“乾淨的手”前來敬拜(耶7:1-12)。在個人生活中追尋聖潔。聖潔是神對我們生命的20/20視察!與其他禮拜者密切接觸時不要成為病毒攜帶者,在敬拜的地方,在教會造成麻煩!

第二,以“真誠的渴望”來前來敬拜(7:21-24)。服從主的聲音。遵守15天就地庇護的法例。用簡單的說,不要只是聽,而是願意去行!不要只是說,而是要採取行動!以賽亞書第一章指出,對信徒的不誠實感到不滿。上帝喜愛祂的子民以心靈和誠實來敬拜!

第三,以悔改的心前來地敬拜,因為總會有醫生帶來痊愈(耶8:4-7; 20-22)。在我們一生中還會有其他帶來麻煩的病毒。如果基督徒說他們沒有罪;他們就是說謊的!基督徒通過認罪和來到基督面前得勝罪惡,祂的血洗淨我們所有的罪孽,使我們在父神前得以稱義。

整體來說,教會是一個基督徒的團體。敬拜是基督徒的集體聚會。數字和地點無關緊要。試想一下,當我們的崇拜中充滿了無病毒的親密群眾時,我們不應該關心更大,更多和更要注意的事項;這種崇拜擁有一切。我將不需要尋找另一個教會或另一個敬拜模式吧。親愛的主內同工,要放鬆點。忠於祂和祂的話語;傳播福音。主內弟兄姐妹們,只有在我們的主裡才能找到真正的平安。而且,在基督裡總是有醫生和香膏可以治愈。”
(3/23/20)

王其昌牧師是美加華人浸信會聯會的顧問和前任會長。他與師母居住在加州的舊金山。

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