It’s Ten O’Clock Somewhere

Our church’s Sunday morning worship hour is at ten.  The churches I attended in my youth uniformly held Sunday School at ten with worship following at eleven.  Just like it says in the Bible.  Since we don’t have Sunday School, holding morning worship at ten enables us to beat the Methodists to the restaurants.  The time is not the thing.  The effort is the essence.

Communal worship is holy convocation.  The first churches met in homes as some do today.  Edifices of adoration constructed throughout the years take my breath away.  Whether the gathering is simple or elaborate in form is not the question.  It is the people that matter.  Two are better than one in worship as in any other endeavor.  As a unit, the church can accomplish what no talented individuals can achieve alone.  The church is the pillar and ground of the truth and the place where spiritual gifts are exercised.  We receive mothers, fathers, brethren, encouragement and helps through the church.

I do a fair amount of benevolent work.  As I like to know who and what I’m dealing with, I will ask individuals in need where their families are and where they attend church.  Too many times, I hear that the destitute are estranged from their families.  Where do they go to church?  They don’t go to church.  Think of it.  People with no natural or spiritual families to aid them in times of need.  The government is a poor substitute.

The church is not the building.  While it is true that Scripture addresses both the people and the place of worship, congregants are more important than concrete.  So, the time and the tabernacle are not as important as the tribe.  It is not my purpose to defend the sanctuary at this point.  However, when Scripture warns us not to forsake the assembly, it is talking about the congregational space.  People are supposed to go to meeting. 

Over time, worship zones and chronology have changed.  In some cases, this is unfortunate, and, in some, not half bad.  It is more important that worship is going on.  By this, I mean unified exaltation and not the personal type devotions we are to all perpetuate.  In some cases, individuals are not able to attend services, but most are and will be judged if they do not.

Moving from the formal to the private is at once exact and non-specific.  Personal worship can rightly be considered inferior and superior to communal praise.  In truth, the two go hand-in-hand in the balanced Christian life.  Whereas, one has specific times and patterns, the other may be free-form and as apt to appear at unusual occurrences as not.  One may be driven by the group hoping for Spirit blessing, and the other the outflowing of Spirit blessing unsought.  Right now is the right time for one and ten Sunday morning for the other. 

While we are careful not to pigeon-hole God, we must admit that biblical observances have some protocol.  It is right to be led by the Spirit with a schedule.  We are not to become the servants of worry or whimsy but live free under God, open and ordered.  There is great latitude for the Christian living a life led from on high.  Any other existence is bondage.

The time for worship is now.  Begin a personal life of praise today.  At the same time believers are individually worshipping their Lord, groups are gathering all over the world for corporate obeisance.  The created order raises its voice in adoration if we will hear.  Join in the song.


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