Preparing my heart for Sabbath, even when I won’t be worshipping?
Here I will be discussing what a girl is to do, when I am awake to the need for corporate worship–and aware that this week I won’t be joining in, because I’ll be serving in the nursery?
God’s people have always been a corporate, gathered people. He has never sanctioned our American individualism that seeks to be an island, just me and God. The woods are not the church. His people gathered are. My favorite coffee shop is not the church; my wing back chair is not sufficient either. Many find a “freedom from corporate worship” because Jesus did not mention how to carry out services specifically in the Gospels. Many a time we are mistaken because what is taught implicitly throughout all of Scripture, we want explicitly in a neat and tidy verse. Your conscience must not be bound by anything other than Scripture, but beloved–the Scriptures make it plain that we are to be a gathered people, gathering for worship, teaching, preaching, fellowship, serving, meeting one another needs, etc.
We are adopted into His family, called into His body, and we need one another. It would take several books to flesh this out, and indeed many good ones have been written already. That is not the point of today’s post.
Are you awake to your need?
Have you found the joy that comes from submitting to the elder’s role of shepherding your soul? (Hebrews 13) Do you attend a service that gives attention to the public reading of the Scriptures and faithfully teaches the doctrines of our faith? (1 Timothy, especially chapters 4 and 6) Have you realized that the Sabbath was made for you–to be refreshed, to enjoy God (your chief end!) and glorify Him? Do you echo with David that being with God’s people is a great delight to your soul? (Psalm 16)
I serve in the nursery because young moms are in a season of life wherein they need the benefits of sitting under the Word preached, corporately confessing and hearing the assurance of pardon, singing of His grace and goodness and holiness, musing upon the Word, praying corporately and silently, taking the bread and wine and delighting in His nearness, His redemption, His perfection, His firm and loving grasp on me… I need it too, all believers do, but every couple of weeks I serve in this nursery that they may have that opportunity.
Not Easy, but Always Good
Some weeks it is hard. I am not grumbling, I simply want to share with you that if you too find it difficult, it is not a call to step back from serving, but an opportunity to come boldly before His throne, approaching with all confidence, knowing He delights in you and me, and delights to hear our prayers asking for help and strength.
And in the meantime, this is a call to make the most of the other times you have during the weekend. Several things I will be doing, to make the most of my Sabbath, though I won’t join in the corporate worship:
Prepare my heart as usual. See here. I set aside the in-between moments on Saturday to chew on some Psalms, journal, read a book that will enrich my soul (currently reading on by Sinclair Ferguson), and seek out spiritual conversations with my kids, with friends, etc.
Prepare physically. Do all the work necessary on Saturday so that Sunday has only deeds of necessity or deeds done in love toward others (but no laundry, ironing, scrubbing, extra cooking, etc.). I prepare for Sundays as much as I would for going on vacation.
Choose playlists on Saturday while I work that lift my gaze to Him! Today that will include Rend Collective Campfire albums, Sandra McCracken’s many albums, and some Indelible Grace hymns.
Though the nursery wears me out, I have to be intentional in prayer–asking the LORD to give me some sweet conversation with fellow believers after all the little ones have been picked up, and I must commit to being intentional about seeking out someone to talk to.
Sunday afternoon, read from a book that will enrich my soul. (Perhaps Bunyan’s book on having a contrite heart, as recommended by my pastor?) https://www.amazon.com/Acceptable-Sacrifice-Excellency-Broken-Heart/dp/1603865756
Truth: You Need to Keep Going
Years ago, I almost listened to the tempter’s lies, when my firstborn was a only few months old. Why go to church on Sundays when I just sit the in the nursing room? Why go, when this is my child’s time for nursing and napping? Thankfully my husband reminded me of our lifelong needs, of the truth, of God’s love and grace for me in that season…and as a deacon, he realized we needed to put a radio in that nursing room so I could sing along, hear the sermon, pray along, and hear the assurance I needed. Ahhh. Seek Him first, seek Him corporately, and enjoy the joy and peace that flows from the obedience of faith, and from being His gathered people!