“I can’t WAIT for Sunday!”
That one sentence is spoken by a lot of people for remarkably different reasons. For some, it’s because Sundays are days filled with football. For others, it’s the last day of the weekend and one more chance to enjoy a well-deserved day off.
If we were alive about four millennia ago and living in Israel, perhaps we would have thought like the author of Psalm 84:1-4. He was speaking of their “day off,” which was Saturday, when he wrote…
How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.
Before the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2, God’s presence with His people was centralized at the Temple (or the tabernacle before there was a temple). As such, the only way an Old Testament saint could activity engage with the presence of God was there in that place. Even then, the heavy drape separating the Holy of Holies from the people was always present. Serving as a constant reminder of the gulf between humanity and holiness, the drape protected the people from coming into contact with the Ark of the Covenant—a death sentence…literally (cf. 2 Samuel 6:6-7).
Nevertheless, it was the Temple where the presence of God was. It was there that the songs of the faithful were lifted. It was there they worshipped, found encouragement in the promises of God, and were challenged to a higher standard of being God’s covenant people in their world.
Although the veil was torn and now—because of Jesus—we have direct access to the Father in Heaven, it is still important for us to engage in corporate worship. We need to be together with other Christians for the same reason the Old Testament saints did: worship, encouragement, and challenge.
We need to develop a hunger for God’s presence in our churches. Too often, we don’t expect the Holy Spirit to show up and He obliges. When this happens, we’re not changed, the lost aren’t found, and our communities barely notice our presence.
Instead, let’s try this:
- Experience the Lord’s presence in a daily worship time. You can’t do on Sunday what you’ve not experienced Monday through Saturday.
- Express your desire to want to hunger. That may sound strange but read it again. With me again? Okay, here’s the deal: you might have to pray that the Lord ignite the fire in your heart. Which leads to number three:
- Exhibit faith in your life. If you never exhibit faith in your daily life, you’ll rarely feel the fire of His presence in your heart. Faith moves Heaven. Faith encourages us. Faith encourages the Body of Christ (the church). Faith ignites us.
Try that and then see if your Sunday doesn’t become a highlight of your week.