“Pay close attention now: I’m creating new heavens and a new earth.
All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten.
Look ahead with joy. Isaiah 65:17-18a MSG
It has become clear that our worship together will not return to what we have been experiencing prior to the virus for the foreseeable future. For our own safety, and the safety of each other we must do things differently. Exactly how, when and what is still being worked out. The only thing we know for sure is that we cannot return to the way we were for some time, maybe a year.
There are a couple of things we can take comfort from. Towards the end of the book of Isaiah, in chapter 65 we find God proclaiming to the Hebrew people in exile that they should take comfort and pay attention because he is going to do a new thing. We are to look ahead with joy. The Hebrew people in exile yearned to return to the way things were before they were carted off to a foreign land. God is telling them that that time is past and that a new place is being created for us, a place where troubles, chaos and pain are things of the past.
In Psalms 33:3 the writer tells us to: “Invent your own new song to him; give him a trumpet fanfare.” (Psalm 33:3 MSG) In these words we are reminded that the purpose of worship is not for us, but for God. We come together as God’s people to give praise and thanksgiving to God. There is so much that we can give thanks for. In this light, returning to worship the way we had been experiencing it is not the primary concern. What should be is that we find a new way to show our praise and thanksgiving.
What new and creative ways can you think of? I would love to hear them.
Lord God, we long for the comfort of the day’s past. Help us look to the future and see the new things that are possible. Amen.
Always, to God be the glory!