In addition to the “normal” trials we experience, we are now in the midst of a pandemic. Around the whole world, people are struggling to cope with life while battling this microscopic enemy. There is fear as a result of the likelihood of coming into contact with the virus.
The question has been asked, how can we worship in the midst of this trial? Where do we get the energy or motivation to worship? And how do we go about doing it?
In A.D. 2020, the word worship is typically used to describe the singing portion of the Sunday service. In many churches, the place where the congregation gathers is called the “worship center.” The word worship conjures up visions of people with eyes closed and hands raised in happy abandon to the mood of the music.
The problem is that in the midst of difficult times, we probably don’t feel any sense of euphoria or even much gratitude. We are legitimately concerned and distracted by the news coverage and the constant barrage of worldwide statistics. We may struggle to find our equilibrium in the chaos around us.
I think that we must start with a discussion of what it means to worship. To worship literally means to ascribe worth to the object of worship. It is to recognize and acknowledge the value of another person. In the Christian context, we believe that God is the ultimate object of worship because He is the ultimate in worth.
As Christians, we are reminded that what we know of the character of God is revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us:
“For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”2 Corinthians 4:6, NASB
We have knowledge of the glory of God by looking into the face of Jesus Christ.
But it is fair to ask, what difference does this make when we are facing massive societal disruption and a plague of this magnitude?
As I write this, we are two weeks away from celebrating Easter. On Easter, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It reminds me that the Jesus that promised that he will overcome the world (John 16:33) is the same Jesus who proved he can do it by defeating death. The resurrection changes everything.
Our mood may be subdued because of our circumstances. We may have difficulty in facing our fears. We may be dissatisfied with how we’re responding to the crisis. We may have loved ones at risk for health or economic struggles. We may even be working toward a crisis of faith as a result of these challenges. But, we have Jesus, who conquered death and promised to be with us to the end (Matthew 28:20).
My favorite prayer in Scripture is found in Mark 9:24 where a father says to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief.” In response to that prayer, Jesus healed the son for whom the father was pleading.
I mention this story because bringing our concerns to Jesus is an act of worship. We bring them not only because Jesus cares about them but he also has the power to do something about them as he did by healing the son in Mark 9.
Our honesty about where we are and what concerns us is an act of worship of the highest value to God. It may not be pretty, it may be really raw or rough around the edges, but God loves for his children to seek Him in the hard times.
That is how we worship in the midst of trials.