“Real worship happens when your spirit responds to God,” affirmed Wilson Adams in his 2005 Florida College Lecture, The Nature of God and Man.”
“We worship daily when we pray privately, read and meditate upon the Sacred Word, sing a hymn in traffic, or praise Him openly to a friend.” However, Wilson correctly pointed out that there are “some things our Creator wants His church to do in concert.” We call this collective worship.
The Bible speaks of first-century Christians meeting together on the first day of the week (Ax 20:7). They came together to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Eph. 5:19). To eat the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:17-34). And to contribute financially to the Lord’s work (1 Cor 16:1-2).
Today, we have this opportunity to collectively join our hearts, minds and souls for worship with fellow Believers.
COVID-19 has seriously impacted public gatherings, especially worship services. We are beginning, however, to return to some degree of normalcy in many locations. An unusual, once-in-a-lifetime circumstance, called for an unprecedented approach to worship. But all the live streams, videos, and facebook live broadcasts piped in our homes cannot replace the impact of collective worship in the same place. At the same time. With our brethren.
When we assemble together there is a unique connection. Heartfelt worship, “in spirit and in truth” that is passionate and purposeful connects us with our Creator. And it also provides a powerful connection to our brethren as we “exhort one another” and “stimulate one another to love and good works” (Heb 10:24-25). Joseph Swain captured this special feeling in his 18th-century hymn, “How Sweet, How Heavenly.”
How sweet, how heav’nly is the sight,
When those that love the Lord
In one another’s peace delight,
And thus fulfill His Word.
When each can feel his brother’s sigh
And with him bear a part;
When sorrow flows from eye to eye,
And joy from heart to heart.
When, free from envy, scorn, and pride,
Our wishes all above,
Each can his brother’s failings hide,
And show a brother’s love.
When love, in one delightful stream,
Through every bosom flows;
When union sweet, and dear esteem,
In every action glows.
Love is the golden chain that binds
The happy souls above;
And he’s an heir of Heav’n who finds
His bosom glow with love.
Don’t neglect this wonderful Divine blessing of collective, connective worship.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman