As with most churches around the world, I believe our Good Friday and Easter Sunday worship in April were historic  with them held online.  Unexpectedly, more than six months later on Thanksgiving weekend, we still need to hold worship online.  Although we have resumed in-person worship, only a small number of brothers and sisters can return to church to worship together every week, and because of the uncertainty of the pandemic, others are hesitant to come to church at all.

      According to previous studies, when you do the same thing for three months in a row, it will become a habit of your daily life.  For example, when you practice a devotional time every day for three months, it will become part of your daily routine.  This is a good habit that everyone is encouraged to strive to establish as daily time with God is a vital element in our spiritual growth.  But I am afraid that brothers and sisters are now used to doing online worship at home, and even after the pandemic is gone, they will still be reluctant to return to church to worship. The habit  we have practiced for three months and longer will inevitably cause certain difficulties or an unwillingness if we must return to church to worship every week.  We are now used to the freedom and comforts at home.  Some of us are eating breakfast while worshipping.  Some of us may start watching the worship video as soon as we get up.  Others may be accustomed to worshipping half asleep in bed.  There may also be brothers and sisters communicating with each other on mobile phones (e.g. on whatsapp, etc.) while worshiping.  These are poor practices resulting in us not clearly focusing on worship, and disrespecting God.  

      Dear brothers and sisters, I hope the above mentioned will not  become your habits.  From today onwards, worship at home with a devoted heart, knowing that whether at church or home, the place becomes solemn and sacred when you worship.  We must worship God with respect because the audience of our worship is not a believer, but the true God of the Trinity. When we worship, God is watching us.  How can we worship the true God with such a negligent attitude?  If you have difficulty improving your inattentive worship, I hope you will participate in our in-person worship as soon as possible.  This will help you refocus on worship that is pleasing to God.  

      May you all have a healthy and blessed Thanksgiving!

      今年四月的受苦節及復活節的崇拜,是本宣家(相信亦是世界各地的教會) 歷史性的第一次在網上舉行。意想不到的,就是六個多月後的感恩節,我們仍然需要在網上舉行崇拜。雖然教會已經開始實體崇拜,但每星期都只能夠容納少量的弟兄姊妹可以回到教會一同敬拜。而且因為疫情的反覆,令弟兄姊妹未能放心參予實體的崇拜及團契小組的聚會。   

      跟據過去一些的研究指出,當你連續三個月做同一件事情,這件事情便會成為了你日常生活的習慣。例如當你願意連續三個月每天都靈修,每天靈修就會成為你每天的生活習慣。這當然是可以鼓大家努力嘗試去建立的良好習慣,因為每天靈修親近神,是基督徒生命成長的其中一個重要因素。但今天我所擔心的,就是恐怕弟兄姊妹習慣了在家中作網上的崇拜,以至當疫情真的能夠完全消失之後,弟兄姊妹仍然不大願意回到教會敬拜。因為當我們在六個多月甚至可能會延續更長日子的習慣,要還原每星期回到教會實體崇拜,必定會產生一定的困難或不願意。因為在過去的一段漫長日子,弟兄姊妹習慣了家中的自由,家中的舒適。可能一些弟兄姊妹習慣了一邊吃早餐,一邊崇拜。一些弟兄姊妹習慣了何時起床,便何時上網收看崇拜的錄影。另外一些弟兄姊妹可能習慣了在床上半睡半醒地崇拜。亦可能有一些弟兄姊妹一邊崇拜,一邊與弟兄姊妹用手機互相通訊 (whatsapp)等等。這都是網上崇拜會容易建立的不良習慣,令敬拜不能專心與及淡化了對神尊敬的心。

      親愛的弟兄姊妹,但願以上所提及的,不再成為你們的習慣。從今天開始,在家中敬虔地專心敬拜,因為你在崇拜的時候,你崇拜的地方,無論是在教會或是在家中,這個地方就是一個莊嚴神聖的禮堂。我們要尊尊敬敬地敬拜神。因為崇拜的觀眾不是信徒,而是三位一體的真神。在我們崇拜的時候,神是看著我們的。我們又怎能用這樣怠慢的態度去敬拜真神呢﹖假若你不能改善你習慣了的不專心敬拜,盼望你盡快參加教會實體敬拜,幫助你重回專心,而且能夠討神喜悅的敬拜。

     祝福大家有一個健康與及蒙福的感恩節﹗