How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? Psalm 137: 4
Psalm 137 was a written whilst the Israelites were in exile in Babylon. For many years the location where worship had happened had been the temple and now in exile they had to work out what it would look like to worship the Lord in a strange land.
All the things they had previously taken as the way things were done had been removed from them – they needed to discover a new way of worship and hence the question at the heart of the psalm.
In Matthew 15 Jesus when speaking to the pharisees quotes the prophet Isaiah who said of the people’s worship that they “honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up of rules taught by men” (Isaiah 29:13)
As we return to our church buildings for worship it is a good time to think about the nature and character of our worship, both as a church and individuals. We will not be able to return to “business as usual” – regulations and restrictions will not allow that – in order to reduce risk, we will have to do things differently, as we have had to do for the last 100+ days.
I believe it is also an opportunity for each of us to draw near to God as we worship in this new way, to ask ourselves some hard questions about where our hearts are in worship.
In a few days I will write to you explaining what the changes in how we worship in our buildings will be, but I would ask you to prayerfully consider what God may be saying to each of us about our worship.