Pastor Dennis Smith
Read Psalm 100:
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: Come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, And into his courts with praise: Be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; And his truth endureth to all generations.
When people think of church, they well might picture a Sunday morning gathering. The life of the church, the body of Christ, is more than Sunday services, but Sunday services are indeed an important part.
I’m afraid that all too often going to church can become routine. We have plugged it into our weekly schedule. Worse than routine, attending Sunday services can even be seen as an obligation if we think that we are earning God’s favor by it and his displeasure when we miss. We can too easily forget the most important reason for coming to church, which is to worship God, our Creator and Savior, and to celebrate what great things he has done for us.
While we can only scratch the surface here, we can learn something about worship from Psalm 100. Go back and read this short psalm again. Notice a couple of key phrases:
“Come before his presence with singing … enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise.”
So, let me ask the question: Why do you come to church on Sunday? Is it for fellowship? That’s good. I am always encouraged by the interaction with my brothers and sisters in Christ at church. Or is it so you can be spiritually fed and motivated by the preaching? That’s good, too. I happen to think the preaching at Harvest week after week is solid. But the main reason we are there should be to worship God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. When the church comes together, it should be about him, not us. (That being said, God sees to it that there are blessings in it for us when we give him the praise that is due.)
As I said, we can learn some things from the psalmist regarding how we should approach the worship service. We should enter Sunday services with the intention of praising God in all that’s done, whether it’s in music and singing or through preaching or by prayers. Let us come mindful of what the Lord has done for us.
Even as we leave the house on Sunday morning to head to church, we can put all the rushing aside and consciously remind ourselves that our purpose in going is to worship our God. And once we arrive and the service starts, it’s good to be in our place, eager to participate as worshippers by raising our voices together in singing God’s praises from thankful hearts. That’s what the psalmist exhorts us to do.