In the wake of Covid, many people have left the church and decided that they don’t need it anymore. Not because of their fear of Covid but because they figure that it doesn’t matter. They will do their spirituality on their own. In their way. On their terms. I suspect that it will result in a diminished personal and spiritual life but we are a nation that does it's own thing.
What they don’t know is that they are missing the party. You heard me right. The party. In Nehemiah 7 and 8, after the completion of the wall that Nehemiah helped organize, we read this: “When the seventh month came and the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled as one man in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the scribe to bring out the book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel.
They built him a platform and “on the first day of the seventh month Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, which was made up of men and women and all who were able to understand. He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law."
Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground….They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.
As the people heard the Word of God they were sad and grieved because they realized they were not following God as they should. But the Levites calmed the people down and said “Be still for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve.” Instead they threw a party. We read, “Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.”
I know a group called the Light of Jesus Family that has a weekly meeting called the Feast. They feast on God’s word, on worship, prayer, and food together each week. Feasts are times of joy and fellowship and that is how they see their worship and how we ought to see our worship as well. This is how we ought to view our weekly worship. A feast around God's word with people we love to give us what we need for the upcoming week. Worship and fellowship go together. And so does rejoicing and music and laughter. Oh, food helps as well!
We ought to throw more parties around God’s word, good food, laughter, and joy. They all go together and they feed the mind, body, and soul. Worship should be seen not as an obligation but as a feast, each time you meet and open the Word. Next week, come to the feast!