It looks like we have another 6 months before all restrictions may, or may not, be lifted. That will make it a year, which is what some of us suspected when this started. A whole year!
Some have returned to Sunday Services, many haven’t and so I thought about how and where God appeared to people in Bible times. Starting with Abraham – he was in Ur, a city of idol worshippers, where child sacrifice was a normal part of worship. God called Abraham out of that situation. Jacob was on his way to stay with his uncle Laban when he stopped for a rest at Luz. He saw a vision of angels walking up and down a ladder to heaven, and he changed the name of the place to Beth-El. The Lord was with Joseph in prison in Egypt. Moses was tending the sheep of his father-in-law, Jethro, when God appeared to him in the burning bush. And so the Old Testament goes on. In the New Testament: Peter met Jesus while he was fishing; James and John were at work mending their nets; Matthew was busy collecting the taxes for the Romans; Zacchaeus was climbing a tree (don’t try this at home!); Paul was travelling to Damascus to persecute the Church there.
I know there are cases like Isaiah who ‘saw the Lord, high and lifted up’ in the temple, but most people encounter God in the ‘ordinary’ places. And for the next 6 months, as with the last 6 months, we will be spending our time in the ‘ordinary’ places.
That doesn’t mean we won’t be able to meet with God – we can commune with God in the same way that these Bible characters did. We are better off than those in the Old Testament because we have the Holy Spirit. If you have truly received Jesus into your life then you have the Holy Spirit, and therefore communion with God.
We can praise God wherever we are. The psalmist tells us that God put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. (Ps.40: 3). We don’t need to be gathered together, behind masks, for that song to be in our mouths.
And as I think I have said before, Romans 12: 1, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.
So wherever you encounter God this week, offer him a song, offer him your all and you will experience the love, grace and mercy of God. This is your holy and pleasing sacrifice to God.
Throughout the Old Testament sacrificial system God only found holy (or perfect as it may be translated) sacrifices acceptable, or pleasing. When we offer our bodies (our very selves) to God, we may not think that we are holy, or perfect, enough, but as we consider his mercy, in forgiving us for our sins and for offering us salvation and eternal life, as we consider that, then when we offer him our bodies He will consider the sacrifice holy and pleasing.