In the book of Ezekiel, a very familiar ending phrase in many of the chapters goes this way: “Then they will know that I am the Lord”.
The nation of Israel had been in defiance to their God for many years. And to pre-empt the coming onslaught of conquering nations like Babylon, time and again, the prophet Ezekiel had to warn them. He did so with the good intention that the Israelites will know that Yahweh is their Lord. So specifically in Ezekiel 33, the prophet Ezekiel was called to be Israel’s watchman. From the passage quoted below, we will understand the immense responsibility that Ezekiel had upon his shoulder.
“ So you, son of man, I have made a watch for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warnings from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul” Ezek 33:8-9
We thank the Lord for many brethren within our assembly who love God and her congregation here. Occasionally, we have suggestions that flow up from the congregation to the church council. And we value those constructive suggestions that are implementable. However, if your feedback seemed to have been ‘forgotten’, please be rest assured that they have been duly brought up for discussion and consideration.
For the last six months, members of the church council have been deeply burdened by the persistent late-coming of many of our worshippers, both from the first and second worship. Ironically, there are more late comers in the second worship service. At the start of service, we sometimes have less than 25% of the usual attendance on some Sundays.
Recently, we implemented two initiatives. Firstly, we moved our second worship service from 10.00am to 10.15am to allow more room for logistical movement – car park, people fellowship after the worship. Sadly, we still have late comers strolling in at 10.30am and after. Secondly, we have also given instruction to our duty deacon/ushers/befrienders that everyone should be like Mary, sitting at the foot of Jesus, worshipping Him when worship service begins. Thus, there will only be 1 or 2 of ushers at the door to take care of visitors and newcomers.
Of late, I have been reading couple of books on the aspect of worship services. One book entitled, “The Worship Architect” by Constance M Cherry, has few worthy principles. One of which is the following:
“Worship that is grounded in God acknowledges that God initiates worship. God invites us to worship. Worship is an invitation, not an invention” (John 4:23-24 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.)
God is the one who has sought us and He invites us to worship Him every Sunday. Let’s give Him the due honour that He deserves. The Sunday worship service should be the most important appointment each week. Let’s be a watchman and let’s be on time.
(I deeply welcome feedback and suggestion and you can email into my personal mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Elder Andrew Lim
Chairman of Elders’ Board & Church Council