Oh how I remember those days… the first bell that meant to start heading back in from recess and then the tardy bell that better find you back in your seat. Or there would be something forthcoming regarding your other seat.
It’s funny how some things like that stick in your mind and always have a way of popping up under similar circumstances. I have always been one who arrives early, thanks to my dad. He always told me that if you show up late you are telling the other person that you are more important than they are. I’ve never forgotten that. I can’t stand to be late… just ask my family.
And now I will step out on the ice and go from reminiscing, past preaching and right into meddling.
There is something that concerns me about the bride of Christ that I must admit to you verges on more than just a pet peeve. It’s when we use the beginning of worship as the “first bell” and the end of worship as the “tardy bell.” But it’s not just about punctuality, it’s about what worship is all about.
I have always believed something I heard a long time ago: Too much Word and you dry up, too much spirit and you blow up, balance the two and you grow up. Well, skipping out on part or all of the worship service is keeping you out of balance and it’s inhibiting your spiritual growth.
Worship is what heaven is all about and it’s our opportunity to get a taste of heaven down here. But something more important is attendant to worship… it ushers in the presence of the Holy Spirit and prepares our heart and our mind to receive the Word of God. Sadly, in so many churches there is very little worship beyond a few hymns before the Word is preached. In my opinion it literally leaves the Holy Spirit standing outside as He will never force Himself into a place where He is not invited. And equally sad is where there is a genuine worship that invites the Holy Spirit’s presence and a setting aside of the world outside and there are those who miss out on the blessing because they are just waiting for the “tardy bell.”
I have been on both sides of the spectrum, from hanging off the chandeliers to sitting with the frozen chosen, and they both miss the mark. So let me encourage you to be there when the first bell rings and set your mind and heart on the things of the Spirit. And if you find yourself in a place where there isn’t equal attention given to both worship and the Word, take that to the Lord and see what direction He gives you. Praising and worshiping our bridegroom should be the first thing on our mind each and every day… and especially on Sunday when we get to gather with the rest of the bride to raise our voices and our hearts up before Him.
And just a thought… did you ever stop to consider that there are angels present that are worshiping with us? I wonder what they think about the first bell.
Okay, I got that off my chest. But I hope you will give it some thought and let the Holy Spirit speak to you about how important praise and worship is in our spiritual development. Let’s don’t be one of those who says that their time is more important than the other person’s… than the Holy Spirit.
That first bell means something.