Sunday, January 9, 2011

Are You Feeling Hurried Today?

I am leaving in a few minutes to go to the church building to worship with other believers. I am sure many of you are planning to do the same thing.

A typical day, for most people, in "churchdom" on Sunday, goes something like this:

10am Sunday School (if your church has Sunday school)
11am Assembly/Worship Service
12pm Head out the door for Lunch
1pm-5:30pm Football (Here, we will watching the Ravens)
6pm Evening service (If your church has an evening service)
7pm head home to get everyone ready for work and school for the next week.

On the average, on a Sunday, people spend usually 1 hour, some possibly 2 hours, a rare few 3 hours, (that are broken up by food and football) in congregational worship of God. These are the norms.

This morning I was reading in the book of Nehemiah. This is what I found.

Nehemiah 9:1-4
1 On the twenty-fourth day of the same month, the Israelites gathered together, fasting and wearing sackcloth and putting dust on their heads. 2 Those of Israelite descent had separated themselves from all foreigners. They stood in their places and confessed their sins and the sins of their ancestors. 3 They stood where they were and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God for a quarter of the day, and spent another quarter in confession and in worshiping the LORD their God. 4 Standing on the stairs of the Levites were Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani and Kenani. They cried out with loud voices to the LORD their God. 

The first thing I was struck by in this passage was the amount of time these people spent in reading God's Word, confession,and praise. I had to figure out just what a quarter of the day meant. This is what I found.
The Jewish day is considered twelve hours. So, that mean, according to this passage, they spent three hours reading God's Word. Then, after that, they spent three hours confessing their sins and worshiping God.
Math was my worst subject in school, but, that is six hours as best as I can add it up!
My husband is a preacher. There are people who get really fussy if we are still in the service after 12 noon. They have plans. This is supposed to be a family day! The Baptists are beating us to the buffet!

I must say as I read this passage this morning I was really convicted. I began to think about the following;
What would our churches look like if we spent three hours this morning reading God's Word? 
Would lives be transformed by the power of God's Word?
What difference would we have in relationships with each other and with our community that needs to know Jesus, if we spent three hours this morning confessing our sins (that were realized as we read God's Word) and truly worshiping God? Would the DNA of who we were as a church be changed? 
Would I be changed?
Would we be more effective in changing the world?

This passage is humbling. I know that a six hour church service is not really very culturally relevant.
I would like the opportunity to see what would happen, when a group of believers came together with the thought of six hours spent in God's Word, confession and worship, and an open heart.

Sounds like I need to suggest and plan an event. 
Even if it is just with a few brothers and sisters in Christ.
Maybe it is time.
To make time.
For God .
In a new, yet old way.

Chasing After Their Hearts,
Glenda Johnson 

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