the worship space

the worship space

I am sitting on the oak wooden floor in the main hall of the building that our Church has been meeting in for 15 years. Over the decades this floor has had myriad pairs of feet pass over it. It’s remained solid for weddings and parties, soaked up the overflow of celebration, caught tears of mourning at funerals and, for the last decade and a half, has been one of my worship spaces. There are places now worn where thousands of worshipers have gathered, danced, knelt and travailed in prayer. In this worship space there have been moments of joy and wonder at our God, there have been moments of frustration, of breakthrough prayer and of repentance. It has held strong even when we were weak.

Through 2020, like all churches, we had to adapt, from hundreds gathering together in the worship space, to there only being five of us in the room. For weeks this worship space felt only the feet of tripods, mic stands and lighting supports; it was left empty throughout the week as prayer, communion and fellowship all moved online. Being in this worship space became a privilege as, due to restrictions, only essential staff could enter. It was a strange time indeed.

Weeks into the restrictions a couple called to say the wife had stage four cancer. Prayer over the phone wasn’t going to cut it. So securely they were invited into the worship space to take communion and pray. Just four people sat together praying and worshiping – no hosts, no kids work, no lights, no tech, no band, no podium or pulpit, just worship; the realisation that yes, God by the Holy Spirit can and does beautifully meet with us in our homes by ourself, but in this moment there was something so precious about being in the worship space together.

As soon as restrictions allowed we opened up the worship space. There was no big call to return, to come to “church”, because “church” as we knew it had long gone. There was just a call of “if you’re hungry come, if you are thirsty come, if you want to worship come.” Ones and twos then tens and twenties returned over the weeks and months… there were obstacles, there were masks, there were restrictions but nothing could take away the presence of God and His beauty at the centre of the worship space.

We know a building cannot change a heart. We know a physical place is not to be worshiped. We know that an oak wooden floor doesn’t initiate praise. However, when people come together, surrendered to God with the intentionality to worship God, He is so faithful to be there. The worship space music makes it possible to continue what started in the Church, to introduce someone to worship for the first time, to prepare our hearts so when we do meet together we don’t come dry and exhausted, but full and ready to stand in wonder of our God.

So you may see “a floor” but we see the worship space.

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Sarah and her husband, Julian, are Senior Pastors at COM Church Dunstable.

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