Pastor Brian Gilroy,
High Prairie Church of the Nazarene
The weather is warmer. The days are longer. The COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to lift. The trails are calling. The farmers are beginning to seed their fields and our Canadian hockey teams are not playing. It must be spring.
For many of us, Sunday morning service has been a different experience. One of my pastoral friends has advertised his church services as a “pyjama service” as he knows of some families that watch the “Livestream Service” on their couch while wearing pyjamas.
Others claim to enjoy a variety of services online during the day or return to rewatch the service at different times of the week.
Another pastor friend of mine takes his phone on a selfie-stick and records his messages while walking in the park or in other creative outdoor areas so that his message will have an even greater impact.
The point that I am attempting to make is that for many of us, the venue is not as important as the idea that we are truly committing ourselves to give God 100 per cent worship until our physical buildings are available to meet in person again.
The greatest challenge to giving God 100 per cent worship these days has to do with the art of distraction. As many parents of homeschoolers have discovered since the schools have closed; the greatest challenge is how to get their children to continue to develop academically while dealing with the change in routine. Although our local school division has risen to the challenge of presenting innovative and creative ways to continue the process outside of a classroom setting; the challenge for parents remain.
The greatest challenge for the church is to help those who love God and those who are seeking peace, hope and healing during these times to have a consistency in connecting with God. He is always there for you. He has always been there for you. He will always be there for you. As He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The problem is that by nature we are a people [humanity] who are easily distracted.
The Bible is filled with accounts of those who love God making commitments to serve Him faithfully and not long after these same people are worshipping idols [manmade, and man-created gods]. As God is a god who believes that you must freely commit to Him; He will not force you to commit to Him.
However, He does say that you and I are accountable for our life choices and if we follow other gods then we are indeed rejecting Him.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator —who is forever praised. Amen.”
During COVID-19, the self isolation, the government restrictions on activities, and the weather patterns of this area of Alberta; many people found the time to attempt to reconnect or reconcile with God.
They sought to know the God who is in still in control and still on the throne. They looked to be reconciled by the faith God allows through His grace because of the sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary by His son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Now that the pressure and stress is beginning to lessen. Many will change their focus and begin to worship the creation and not the Creator. God continues to witness to His authority through the consistency of His creation and the cycle of life.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
So, my question to all of us is a simple one:
“As the weather changes and life resumes it’s normal or new normal rhythms – what or whom will you worship?”
The creation [in all its forms] or the Creator who loved you so much that He offered you a way to be restored in your relationship with Him both in this life and the next as He paid the price of restoration through Jesus Christ, His Son, Our Messiah and Saviour.