Nobody has actually said anything to me so please don’t think this reflection is as a response to somebody worrying or making a fuss, because nobody has. I am merely musing upon a subject prompted by what’s going on and the need to actually write something that might be relevant to someone, somewhere in the world. (I’m going to call it literary licence.). (because I can).
It might be that the current truncated version of our worship may lead some to worry that our worship is not going to get the job done; it won’t be pleasing to the Lord. This thought flew through my mind like the tiny bird that flew out of the darkness into a window one side of a brightly lit hall and out of a window the other side of the hall back into the darkness. The flicker in the corner of my eye, caused by the lost bird, as I sat in the brightly lit hall, waiting for someone to make me a cup of tea and some cake, led me to wonder about this and the next domino to fall was the story of the widow’s mite (Mark 12:41-44).
In this story from the Bible Jesus is sitting watching the people put money into the thirteen receptacles in the Women’s Court of the Temple in Jerusalem. Many wealthy people are throwing in large sums, presumably they are throwing the offerings in order to make a noise and attract attention from those around them. Along came a poor widow and placed two small coins into the bowl; two coins worth less than a penny; two coins which would probably not even buy half a loaf, so why bother you might ask. Jesus calls his disciples to him and points out that “she who is poverty stricken, has put in more than all those others”. The poor widow has put her all to God, trusting that He will respond. She had given all that she was able to give.So, what’s that got to do with truncated church services? I believe that one of the things our Lord was pointing out was the fact that whereas we see the outside of the body, the physical appearance and actions of each other, God sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). God does not look upon us as we look upon each other. God sees into our hearts, which when you think about it is both wonderful and terrifying.
So while it matters how and when we come together to worship, we need to remember that God isn’t looking at the flowers or the dust (or absence thereof) or the shoes. God is looking into the hearts of each of us. God is rejoicing in our heartfelt love and not worrying about my singing. (I hope…I hope…I hope). God isn’t looking for punctuality or presentation. God is looking for our hearts because; you must Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).
Give your heart to God; be quiet and listen as much as you pray; be thankful for everything, because that is what God has given for you; be repentant and turn away from your sins towards your God; be humble, we are all just one grain of sand on the beach; be trusting because God loves you no matter what; be honest, deserve what you get; be loving, be kind, if you see someone who hasn’t got a smile on their face, give them one of yours ; be faithful, never give up, never, never, never. And always remember it isn’t what we give to God, it’s how we give it. From the heart.