By Rev. Dalton Lilly
After a year or more of fears and consternation of assembling, the pestilent called COVID 19 seems to be fading away. It is time for America to get back to church. There is no doubt the pandemic that cursed the world has had a terrible impact on all of us. But it’s time to accept God’s healing presence and His mercy and get back to our public worship services. Even before the pandemic America’s church congregations were shrinking. According to national studies fewer than 26% of Americans attended weekly worship service prior to the pandemic. Now even fewer attend weekly church meetings and are sluggish getting back to church after COVID19. We should all know that this is not a good sign for America. Christians are called by God to assemble and worship for many reasons. Church is one of the best places for people to learn who Christ is and to share in His work.
In Hebrews 10:25 the Apostle Paul warns Christians not to forsake gathering together. When Christians gather together we raise our prayers and praises up to God in worship. All humankind was created by God for a relationship with God and to fellowship with Him. We establish closer and more open meaningful relationships with the Lord Jesus our Savior through our church congregations. We also encourage other believers by our presence, and we enjoy the support and the love of others who love God.
God views the church, His people, as an autonomous body and an extension of Himself. He even refers to us as His bride. The church is important to God and each person who is a part of God’s Church enhances the body of believers. I Cor. 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ and members individually.” Christians make a body of believers who serve and worship the one living God Jehovah and who is also our Savior Jesus the Messiah. God created each person in this world uniquely and distinctly special. Each one of us has talents, skills, and abilities all given by God for the purpose of glorifying Him. When we extend our talents, skills, abilities, and resources to serve God, that translates into love for others. Your local church and your neighborhood are perfect places for accomplishing all of the wonderful things that God intends for us His people to do.
It is time we all got back to church and join our congregations in furthering the work of the Kingdom of God. If you don’t have a church, God is calling each of us to find an assembly. Finding a church is not always easy. Begin praying that God will lead you to a fellowship of believers where He will invite you to serve with the talents and skills that He has provided you. Get up this Sunday and start visiting churches in your community. If you diligently seek a place of congregation and worship, God will show you where that place is for you. You will know when it feels right, and God’s Holy Spirit will confirm it.
We are now living in some of the most challenging times our nation has ever experienced. There is an increase in lawlessness and many people have turned away from God. The healing of a nation comes when we turn back to God, repent of our sin, and ask for forgiveness (II Chronicles 7:14). It starts with us as individuals. You will find peace and strength and contentment in the Spirit of the Lord. Why not ask Jesus into your life today? He will forgive you of your sin and through His Grace, give you eternal life.
May God bless you richly and often.
Rev. Dalton Lilly, Fredericksburg, Va.
~Photo credit: Lilly’s church in Richardsville, Virginia, by Deborah Lilly.