Scripture: Deuteronomy 31:7-13, 24 – 32:4
Key verse: (31:12) “Assemble the people – men, women, and children, as well as the aliens residing in your towns – so that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God and to observe diligently all the words of this law.”
Reflection: “I don’t need to go to church to worship God.” “I experience God on the golf course (or in the mountains, or sitting on the beach) more than sitting in a church pew.” “I have such a hard time worshiping when there is a crying baby (or a squirming toddler, or a loud off-key singer, or a restless teenager) near me.” As a pastor, I’ve heard all of these.
Yet over and over again scripture calls us to gather together to hear God’s word. Assemble the people, of all ages and all backgrounds, to learn. Yes, we can experience God outside the walls of the church and some of our most powerful spiritual moments will be private ones. But those private moments are never a substitute for gathering together. When we gather as a community of faith, we experience something more than the sum of our individual parts.
Are other people annoying? Yes, sometimes they are! But did you ever think that God was using their presence to help shape your faith and your faithful behavior? You might be learning patience, or kindness, or self-control! Also, the presence of others heightens our awareness of accountability. If you want to learn something, a trusted teacher or a steady companion makes a difference. The same is true for learning faith and learning God’s word. We learn more together than we would on our own.
Today is Friday. What will you be doing this weekend? Make a commitment to communal worship, either in your own church or wherever you will be. If you can’t attend in person, join worship by live stream. And don’t skip the annoying parts because those are probably the times when you are learning the most!
Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for calling me to be part of a faith community. Encourage my faithful worship so that I can be shaped by your Word and by your people to be more like Jesus Christ every day. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].