What an experience we had last Sunday! For those of you who were not in attendance here, we experienced a major windstorm in central Michigan on Saturday evening, and around midnight the power was knocked out at the church and at various homes throughout the neighborhood. Electricity was not restored until later on Sunday afternoon, so our Sunday morning meeting was somewhat … different than normal.
We met in the Fellowship Hall for worship, because its windows let in more natural light than the sanctuary. We sang from the hymnal, and we did well without microphones. The congregation sang with tremendous vigor and energy – the strongest singing I’ve heard since Tara and I arrived last August! Several people commented afterward that the service felt like campmeeting and that this was one of the strongest services we’ve had in recent months. I tend to agree: our worship was inspired and greatly energetic, at least partially due to our “extreme” circumstances.
How accustomed we are to the convenience of electricity! And how wonderful to be reminded that our worship of the Lord depends on us, not on the setting in which we find ourselves.
Just a few weeks ago, we focused on the story from John 4 in which Jesus encounters the Samaritan woman at the well. In that passage, Jesus says that “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23, NIV). I raised this question then: what does that kind of worship look like? In a fascinating manner, I believe the Lord gave us an opportunity to experience that kind of worship this past Sunday.
Does our worship depend on light bulbs in chandeliers, lyrics projected overhead by a computer, or amplification via microphones? Does our worship depend on radiated heat, flush toilets, or coffee machines?
What do we expect when we come into the house of the Lord? Do we expect to be comfortable, or do we expect to encounter the living God?
If nothing else, I think we can benefit from this lesson: The value of our corporate worship has more to do with the attitudes of our hearts rather than with the amenities of our facility. Perhaps we should shut off the electricity once a year to remind ourselves of this truth!