“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
I love Sundays. I love meeting together with brothers and sisters in Christ to worship our God together. I love the encouragement to worship and to live out the Christian life that comes from the simple gathering together to worship through prayer and song and hearing the Word preached in truth. I love the kindness God showed us in not calling us to a Lone Ranger kind of existence but in calling us to His family. I love His kindness in making it not optional that we meet together, too. It is vitally important to worship Him in private, but there is just something other about worshiping alongside other believers who are also worshiping Him.
One of the things that made our time in St. Louis so very sweet was the church God brought us to before we had even fully moved there. Drew and I did some research online and found Parkway Baptist and just really believed we should visit there. When Drew went to St. Louis a month before the rest of us followed, we visited Parkway together when I flew up to visit him. Then he continued to visit there until I and the kids completed the move. We never felt the need to go anywhere else. It was with that portion of the Body that we knew we were supposed to join for the short time we had there. And the really neat thing about the relationships we formed there is that they will be eternal. Even if we don’t get to have much time together this side of heaven, we will be together there.
God, I believe, is showing His kindness once again to my family. Again we did some research ahead of time and found a church here in Kentucky where we thought we would like to visit. We have been visiting Northside Baptist Church since before we moved here (got to visit on a couple of house-hunting trips), and in the few weeks we’ve lived here, I have sensed the Spirit in a very real way each time we’ve joined with the church to worship - even the Sunday one of my kids got (quite and unexpectedly with no warning at all) sick right before the sermon and Drew had to take him out. The pastor later asked if he got sick or was Dad taking him out for some discipline. That horrified my son! We’ve NEVER had to take him out for misbehavior - he likes to be at church and always behaves.
Anyway, I am thankful for today. I heard some things that really touched my heart and that I want to continue to ponder this week and in days ahead. The pastor prayed before worship that this service would not be one where we sat on “cruise control” but that we would truly enter into worship. That pierced my heart, because lately I’ve kind of felt like I’m sort of living my life on “cruise control” at times and I don’t want to settle for that. I want to live on purpose, if that makes sense. Then the music pastor talked about how easy it is to trust God when things are going well and when we ‘feel’ Him. The hard thing is to trust Him when we don’t feel anything. That pierced me again. I mentioned earlier that I’m kind of in the blues right now. They say that moving is right up there with the major stresses of life, and if that’s so, I’ve had a few of those this year. That not feeling anything is an obstacle I face sometimes. I’m there right now. I think I’ve been in a bit of a slump since the miscarriage in February that, while not debilitating and something I try not to talk much about, is something that I still find myself needing to work through at unexpected times. But what a privilege to take even that to God in prayer. What an awesome salvation that we know that our hope is not in our feelings, but in His grace. Pastor’s sermon today contrasted Mt. Sinai, the mountain of Law, with Mt. Zion, the mountain of grace and forgiveness as we continued studying the book of Hebrews. He emphasized that Jesus is the Something better - just as I studied in the spring with our ladies’ Bible study. In fact, the “sermon in a sentence” was this today: “If we do not hinge our entire hope for salvation on coming to the mount of grace in repentance and faith, then we will be judged by the standards of the mount of law.”
Friends, I am so eternally grateful that Jesus is my High Priest and that His blood is what makes me right with God. I do not trust in my feelings, or lack of them. I trust in Him. I trust in what He did at Mt. Zion in offering this sinner a grace so rich, so full, so complete that I can hang all my hope on Him and trust Him.
The choir at our church in St. Louis sang a beautiful song recently called, “Lord, Have Mercy.” I sat there just overwhelmed as I looked at the empty cross in the baptistry and thought, “He has. Oh, He has shown us such mercy. That He came and endured the shame of the cross for the joy that was set before Him and would save such a sinner as me. Such incredible mercy.”
It has been a beautiful Sunday, and I am grateful.