Ten Things I Learned at Church on Sunday

Each week the service is like a fresh painting of grace upon my soul

“As I was reflecting on this past Lord’s Day I was struck by a number of things particularly encouraging to me. God met us as a church in the ordinary and showed us his extraordinary faithfulness, grace, beauty, and power. I compiled 10 quick observations about what affected me this weekend alone.”

 

Sundays are pretty ordinary by nature. I get up at the same time and follow the same routine. My wife and children have their routines also. We do the same thing every single week. Then we go to the same place and see many of the same people. What’s more, when we get there, we often do the same things that we did the previous Sunday.

Let’s face it: church is pretty ordinary. But, let’s not miss it: while it is ordinary this does not mean that it is not important!

As I was reflecting on this past Lord’s Day I was struck by a number of things particularly encouraging to me. God met us as a church in the ordinary and showed us his extraordinary faithfulness, grace, beauty, and power. I compiled 10 quick observations about what affected me this weekend alone (I am shortening my list from where it could truly be). May these encourage you in your appreciation of the ordinary in your local church as well.

  1. People showed up. This point seems especially ordinary, but it is also deceptively profound. My understanding of depravity tells me that we don’t come out of the womb singing “How Great Thou At” but rather “How Great I Am.” The fact that God has people calling upon his name in public worship should cause us to marvel at his grace. It is no different from that first accounting of a gathered people, in the days of Seth, “at that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD” (Gen. 4.26).
  2. Answered prayer. During the service I noticed a mom bouncing her new baby girl. I was reminded of how we as a church prayed for this family to have children when it appeared that they could not. God answered these prayers with not one but two children. As she joyfully bounces this new baby she is holding an answer to prayer. She is a reminder to me that God hears and delights to answer our prayers.
  3. Call to worship. At the beginning of the service we read Psalm 135.1-3 and turned our minds and hearts to the priority of worshiping God together as a church. We were being called to worship. I was reminded in this that God himself seeks true worshipers (Jn. 4:23-24). As we are drawing near together in the realm of the ordinary building a the usual time, we are saying something profound: we are declaring that God is gloriously sufficient and worthy of our worship.
  4. Singing. We sang hymns that reminded me that God is faithful (“Great Is Thy Faithfulness”), that the cross is sufficient (“Now Why This Fear”), and that it was personal (“My Jesus, I Love Thee”). Each of these songs transported me out of my circumstances and lifted my chin to the horizon of heaven to behold the beautiful promises of God and his unchanging character. Another note on the singing, we were led by musicians from our church family. These are regular people whom God has created and fashioned with musical ability to help us to see and savor Christ. This may seem inconsequential, but as a pastor with no musical ability I praise God for these men and women who serve as weekly chauffeur’s to Mt. Zion.
  5. Diversity. As I looked around I saw people from a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. There were people who have been Christians for decades and some who are brand new to the faith. I saw young people and older interacting with the preached word like it was the first time they ever heard this. I talked to people about the sermon and heard a range of ways in which God pressed home his truth. Praise God for this ordinary practice of gathering together.

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