Waiting for the Spirit – Friday 15th May: Acts 17.16-35

Friday 15th May

Acts 17.16-35

Who do you worship? Who do you love? How have you worshipped God in the last eight weeks?

We have all been changing our patterns of worship as we have been unable to gather together in our worship communities. However we have joined together in morning and night prayer, clicked on to Church Wigan services and joined ‘Zoom’ services. In the coming months we may begin to worship together in person, but it will be different from how we did this 12 months ago.

Though this has been hard, challenging and painful, one thing that has not changed is what Paul is speaking about in our passage today. The challenge to come and worship God.

If we look at the book of Acts and at the very first Church, how they gathered and worshipped, this was not so very different from what we are doing now. They gathered as families and small groups in their homes and came to worship, wrestled with God’s word and in prayer.

Why was Paul so keen to speak on worship? Because Paul could not go and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ without coming from a place of worship. We worship to come into the presence of God, we worship in different ways but with the same focus to come into the presence of God.

How do you do this? Has this changed in lockdown? Have you started a new rhythm in lockdown that has helped you? Will you continue doing those things post lockdown?

A few weeks ago, the Guardian reported that 1 in 4 people have logged onto a Church service in the last 8 weeks. www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/03/british-public-turn-to-prayer-as-one-in-four-tune-in-to-religious-services?fbclid=IwAR2wJpozwxBHVN_JxuvQKSJjnRDd-ujjyYfybsb2PU_R3gtRRtSK9sTnBsU)

Why? There are many theories, but if we take this passage I think it’s because people desire to come into the presence of God in worship, to come to the place of peace and hope in the unrest of the world. To seek God.

As we prepare for the next phase of lockdown, we have a challenge both personally and as Church. Personally, how are you coming to that place of worship daily? What are you not doing? What have you started? What have you not been doing? As Paul challenges us: come and worship God.

As the Church we have so many people seeking and asking about God hungry to come and worship, but to worship in different ways, how are we going to respond to this post lockdown, when we go back to buildings and groups and gatherings? How are we going to engage with those who are hungry to worship but won’t come to a building?

In verse 28 it said: “Yet God is actually not far from any one of us; as someone has said ‘In him we live and move and exist.’ ” We are called to worship and lead others into a place of worship as we come into the presence of God in worship.

How will you respond?

Reflection by Mark Wade