What keeps you from being close to the Lord? On this Sunday, we ought to be closer than usual. We ought to be reminded of our obligations to the Lord in worship and word. But, if your life has been like mine, Sunday morning worship has been a bit different. For the present, churches are still officially “closed.” Some churches are doing drive-in services, and I commend them for their inventiveness. Our church has been dong internet church since it had already been equipped with that ability long before the quarantine started. But getting up and getting ready for church has fallen out of habit. This morning I watched church in my bathrobe. I suppose robes are appropriate.
But I will tell you that Sunday doesn’t feel like Sunday any more. I miss getting up and getting out. I miss worshipping with other believers, sitting in the chairs at church and the communal feeling of being with others of like mind and faith. I miss the opportunity to talk to people who are just today making that decision to follow Jesus. I know all that can be done virtually, but it isn’t the same.
And then I miss going out after church to get dinner. I miss the Chinese buffet, but also the Cracker Barrel and the trips to a different town to try out different options there. I miss that freedom, the ability to get out of you cubby-hole and seeing how other people live. Lord willing, all of this will be rectified by the end of the month.
Until then, I must take Joel’s message to heart. At the core of his message (to Israel) is to prepare your heart for the Lord. Three things we don’t do normally: fasting, weeping and mourning, are all three designed to set up apart. Fasting obviously sets you apart from your normal habit of satisfying the flesh. Weeping sets you apart from your normal apathy about your sins and the plight of your soul. Mourning reminds you that because of our sins, we deserve death, eternal death in judgment. Happy thoughts anyone? These are not happy thoughts. These are purposefully designed to put your soul on notice. God is watching and aware of what you are doing. Be ignorant no longer.
This is usually what Sunday morning is for. It is a reminder of where you are spiritually.
And if you have been separated from your soul lately because you haven’t been in a church house, may I recommend you set apart some part of your house to get you in that particular mood? Find a space where you can set apart, Scripture calls it a closet for prayer, where you can be separate, turn off the noise, and be holy. If you don’t have one, make one, so that you can find a sanctuary for your soul. And take the time to be alone with God.
Dear God, I know I need you. I know that every day, the longer I spend away from You, I spend to my detriment. Help me Lord Jesus to find You again, to shut off the noise of my life and listen to Your Voice. I pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.