Doesn’t it seem like time ticks faster on Sunday mornings? The alarm goes off and then it’s as if someone hits the fast-forward button. You have to get up, get fed and get ready. And if you have children that process is repeated for everyone in your home. Once that is accomplished you have little time to drive and arrive to the gathering on time. You don’t plan to show up late. It just seems to happen. And then it happens again the next week.
After a while you feel that if you can make it before the songs end and the sermon begins you are doing pretty good. Most people seem to think that arriving on time to hear the sermon is the main thing. After all hearing the Word is what really matters on Sunday, right? That isn’t quite right. The preacher is not the only one called to address the congregation when we gather. Every believer is called to address the congregation, not through preaching but through singing.
…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart
The songs we sing on Sunday morning are not like trailers in the theater that give us some extra time to find a seat. It is not a prelude to the ‘main event.’ It is part of our calling to serve one another as a church. Singing is actually something we are called to do as God’s people. In Ephesians 5.19 we are called to sing for two reasons:
1. “address one another”
We are called address one another in song. By doing this we encourage one another in the truth we hold in common. When you sing in the congregation you comfort others by letting them know that they are not alone in their faith. God uses your singing of the faith to encourage others in the faith. If you are not there on time your voice is not there to fulfill this calling. Your worship is not only between you and the Lord it is also between you and the church.
2. “making melody to the Lord”
We are called to worship the Lord with our heart. The same songs that encourage our brothers and sisters please the Lord. In our singing we express our joy in the gift of salvation, we celebrate the mighty acts of God, we affirm our confidence in his promises and we reconfirm our loyal love. It is a sweet and needful reminder of God’s greatness. Few things put the soul in a proper frame than sincere worship of the Lord. He delights in the harmony of the many singing because it shows the power of the Gospel. His Son’s work of the cross has created this eclectic “choir”. He delights when we unite our voices to proclaim his goodness.
Running late on the Lord’s Day does not help in any way to fulfill these things. It does do much to hinder them, however. Here are a few ways that it hinders God’s purpose:
A. Arriving late means that you are rushing. When you arrive you are not in a proper frame to “make melody to the Lord with your heart”. Your heart is probably more convicted about how you treated your spouse and children in your rush to get ready.
B. Arriving late means that you miss some or most of the congregational singing. Your voice is not there to “address the others” in song.
C. Arriving late means that you disrupt the singing of others and interrupt the worship being directed to the Lord.
D. Arriving late means that no one is there to sing ‘your part’ of the glories of God
E. Arriving late sends a bad message to people visiting our corporate gathering. “What they do here is not taken seriously.”
F. Arriving habitually late sets a poor example for others. Who will then repeat all of the errors noted above.
You can easily avoid this by making a few changes to your routine. An older saint once told me that “many Sunday mornings are ruined on Saturday night.” Getting your clothes ready and your body rested on Saturday night can make all the difference for your heart on Sunday morning. Not only that, it will likely strengthen the hearts of others and please the heart of God. Which is the calling of every Christian.
By Jorge Mendoza of Blueprint Church Atlanta, GA