After months of “hibernation” at home since circuit breaker last year, my whole family finally returned to church for worship service and Junior Sunday school this month. Though we had been attending online worship services and zoom Sunday school lessons last year, the joy and realness of God experienced during worship in the sanctuary with fellow believers surpassed much of those at home. I recalled my children were so excited that particular Sunday that we arrived at church much earlier than the usual time.
As we kick-start our regular church attendance, below are some thoughts which I would like to suggest that we can do for this New Year:
(i) Grow your faith in God
One key advantage of onsite worship over online worship service is the lack of distractions that one might have at home. In church, I could focus better on worshipping God and be more attentive listening to the sermon. As the Word of God is being ministered to me through the speaker, my faith in God is being strengthened as I could align my thoughts to the sermon pointers that could be applicable to my life. Though one could also experience the above at home, nothing however beats the feeling and joy of being able to worship together in unity with fellow brothers and sisters-in-Christ. As Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV) states
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
(ii) Faith with good deeds
In James 2:14, 17 (NIV), it states
“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? … In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
As our faith in, and relationship with, God are being strengthened, let us be reminded to put our faith into action with good deeds. Let’s not be just hearers of the Word, but also doers of the Word (James 1:22). For example, are we able to avail ourselves if any brother or sister-in-Christ encounters an emergency and calls in the middle of the night asking for help? Do we just simply ignore the elderly, poor and needy or disabled who pleads with us for help?
(iii) Pray in faith for COVID-19 situation
As our country has moved into Phase 3 re-opening, when we have the privilege of being able to worship in church, let us not forget about others in the world who are suffering physically, financially or mentally due to the worsening pandemic situation. Let us pray fervently in faith for God’s mercy and intervention, for the pandemic to be under control and to be eradicated with the availability of vaccines, and for God’s healing hand to be upon those who are suffering in sickness.
So are you ready to join me in worshipping God in Bethesda Chapel together?
Leo Deng Yong