Beginning February 24th an antagonistic and aggressive Russia invaded the lightly armed nation of Ukraine. Vladmir Putin commanded Russian forces consisting of tanks, fighter planes, helicopters, naval vessels, and ground troops to attack the nation without just cause. Bombardment has been going on for a few days as of this writing.
What stood out to me was not heroism of the Ukrainian people, although it would seem the big bear that Russia is may have significantly underestimated them and is suffering those consequences. What stood out to me is that the Ukrainian Christians didn't skip a beat when it came to their worship of Christ. Bombs are flying over head while underground praises echo down the subway lines.
The average 'committed' Christian in the U.S. will miss church for far less. In American Christianity it's socially acceptable for things like hunting, sports, homework, and family visiting to suffice as reasons NOT to go to church. None of which are bad things. I have a sweet new compound bow and can't wait to get my first deer or turkey with it, but I'm not going to miss the sacred worship gathering for it. I'm not going to raise my kid to revere sports more than the sacred gathering of the church and the worship of Christ. But that's exactly what we pass onto our kids when we forsake assembling together. I'm not saying never miss church, I'm saying pay attention to your patterns.
We teach them that these things, the things for which we miss worship, are the things we to truly be worshipped. The unimportance of the Christian gathering is handed down to the next generation one habitual church skip at time. Teach your kids what Biblical worship and Biblical church is. Do Biblical worship, be in a Biblical church, and be the Biblical church. You can tell your kids all day to put God first but if you don't then they won't. It would seem true in this instance that more is caught than taught. Again, I'm not saying never miss, I'm saying pay attention to your patterns.
These Ukrainian Christians not only prioritize the worship of Christ but when they have every reason to complain about their circumstances, they are caught praising in the subway. This ought to convict us a little bit as Christians free to worship in the United States. We'll come into a worship gathering and look for things to complain about. We'll gather in our church 'small group' to essentially commiserate about what the church is doing wrong. As it goes, misery loves company.
When you go to church this Sunday and you feel that old temptation to point out what’s wrong with the place: The coffee’s lukewarm, the lights are too bright, the temperature is wrong, the music is too loud and, of course, you don’t know the songs.
Remember in that moment, there’s a Ukrainian church gathering in subway tunnels to worship while bombs blast overhead.
No coffee, no instrumentalists, no leader pushing them to worship, they’re down there in real time and in real life worshiping Jesus the King above kings as their world is crumbling down.
Pray for Ukraine.
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