One week ago, 168 hours to be exact, I was in church. Today, we're snowbound/icebound and "church" was cancelled. At least the services were cancelled. Only God can cancel THE CHURCH, and for now, He's showing a lot of forbearance in letting us muddle along (see also "mercy, grace, patience, longsuffering").
That same Sunday morning, as my Sunday School class studied a portion of the gospel of Mark, I was acutely aware of a phenomenon I had pondered before. I knew that even in my Eastern Time Zone, not all churches were holding worship services at the same time. In places like Europe, Africa, and Asia, morning worship had already taken place hours before. Maybe even on some cruise ships out in the Atlantic who had seen the sun rise hours before I did.
Then I thought of those Christians to my west who might still be asleep, their church services still a few hours away. As I contemplated our spinning globe with millions of believers arising at different times to worship according to their own customs, I pictured a gigantic WAVE, circling the planet. Not like an ocean wave or tidal wave, but, you know-- THE WAVE. Like the crowds do at ball games and concerts. Okay, I don't get out much. Maybe they don't do it much any more. But my point is, at any given time, somewhere on the Earth, God's people are leaving their beds, bowing to Him in thanks, lifting their prayers heavenward, singing anthems of praise (traditional or contemporary with voices trained or untrained). They may be alone, they may be in a small group, they may be in a mega-church. They're praising their God in every language that exists. And best of all, as this "gospel wave" takes place, God must be smiling, and wishing that we were always so mindful of Him. Because He desires this time with us every day, not just on Sunday. For every soul who rises to worship Him, how many are there that are unmindful of Him, unaware of His nearby presence and His desire to be intimately involved in their lives?
But isn't the whole idea of The Great Commission to share Christ with those who don't know Him and let the Holy Spirit lead them gently into the fold? And God's word is full of instructions for how we can share His love.
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From our lesson in Mark 9, these were the points of emphasis:
- Show others you care ("Whoever welcomes one little child such as this in My name welcomes Me").
- See others as coworkers ("Laborers together with God")
- Sacrifice for others' sake
- Season others' lives ("Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another")
My idea of the "Gospel Wave" circling the world is a comforting reminder not only that the remnant of those true to Christ is a vastly larger number than we might imagine, but also that we are united for His purposes through His gift of salvation. Whenever you spend time with the Lord, remember you're part of something much bigger--and He still has time to give you His undivided attention!