I was taught punctuality in school through the hard way. To be late for morning assembly is to have my name booked into the prefects’ permanent record book. Three occurrences of offence and I will be in line for some detention class, where we were put through hours of work to clean the big panel windows of the assembly hall are up to army’s standard of cleanliness.
Every Sunday, we are discouraged by the very low attendance at the start of service here in this worship hall. Two Sundays back, I felt burdened and started the service by reading Psalm 130 (changing the I to We).
Out of the depths we cry to you, O LORD!
O LORD, hear our voice!
Let your ears be attentive to the voice of our pleas for mercy!
If you O LORD, should mark iniquities, O LORD, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared
We need to ask ourselves if we have lost the sense of wonder and awe that we are in the presence of the Holy One. If we love God and if we want to honor Him, I think minimally we should make all efforts to be early for the worship services.
Psalm 130 is a part of a group of Psalms (120-134). The pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem sang these songs as they went up to the city for the great Jewish festivals. The songs prepared their hearts for the corporate worship they would engage in at the Temple. As Christians, our “festival “ of corporate worship is the Lord’s Supper. As we approach it, we should be aware of our great need for forgiveness so that we partake with thankful, reverent hearts to our gracious God who sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sins that we deserved. Have we taken for granted His great Forgiveness and forgotten of the need to be in full Repentance, for bringing despair and disobedience. And the perpetual late coming for worship services is one such disobedience.
Without God’s forgiveness, we are doomed (verses 3-4). Hence, the Psalmist warned that this should lead to fear, lead to awe, lead to reverence. Does God keep a record of all our iniquities. Does He have a record book? Matthew 12:36 indicates He does! We fear God because we know that He has every reason to condemn us, but He did not. We do not fear His punishment now but we do fear Him because we know that He rightly could have sent us into hell for all eternity. And because of this fear, we want to obey Him, we want to revere Him and more so, we want to honor Him.
So we need to come prepared on Sundays when we gather for worship. The second service musician team comes as early as 8am to practise for the service. If they can make the sacrifice, so should we. Sleep early the night before! Prepare our hearts and minds with the Word. Encourage others during open worship as the Lord teaches you.
Let our souls wait for the King every Sunday!
Elder Andrew Lim