One of the challenges on Sunday morning is determining the healthy line between holiness and false piety, between warmly welcoming the brethren and irreverent chaos.
I believe I do a decent job of modeling warmly and authentically greeting folks before and after the service. It is not hard because God has put His love in my heart. People are important. Loving others is a command of Jesus. And let’s be honest, it is not like loving on others is like taking “bad medicine” – – it is a blessing.
If the truth be told, however, in my excitement to love on folks, I have too often crossed the line by letting my focus on welcoming and greeting invade the worship medley and communion time. You know, like asking someone how they are doing at the communion rail or even asking a parishioner to give me a call about some “important” matter. NOT GOOD. I have been working on a proper balance of love for God and love for others on Sunday mornings, but as a people person it is a challenge.
Bottom line, the Lord has let me know that “pre” and “post” service time should be focused on others and particularly welcoming first timers. But once the worship service begins, it is time to shift our focus from others to the Lord. He must be the center of everyone’s attention. His Holiness and goodness deserve our undivided attention. We come to corporate worship to praise and pray to an audience of one – – The Lord.
We might want to think carefully about what our corporate worship looks like to the Lord. Are we falsely pious and religious? Are we chit-chatty and disruptive to others, drawing their attention away from Christ? Are we texting? Chatting or leaving during communion so we can get a 7 minute head start out the door? If we think about Whom we are gathered to worship and how worthy He is of our undivided attention, we will give Him the praise and worship He deserves.
Let’s be passionate and authentic in our welcome and love of the brethren, but once we enter into the worship service, remember that we are there for an audience of one.