Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Pause Before Entering
When we make church attendance a regular practice, it becomes very easy to grow accustomed to many aspects that make it such a vital, extraordinary experience. Unique things that drew us to our chosen house of worship—the unique environment, spirit, focus, and people that first impressed us—we now tend to overlook.
Before entering the sanctuary, however, it’s good to pause long enough to remember what’s inside—or, more specifically, who’s inside. We’re about to join the company of people who are glad they’re alive. That’s the common factor that unites us. We reserve this specific time to worship our Maker and express our joy for the life He’s given us. Beyond that, any differences between us are secondary. Frankly, they’re beside the point.
Once we stop to recognize life—and nothing else—brings us together, the church becomes a label-free zone. There are no male, female, straight, gay, black, white, brown, yellow, red, rich, poor, Catholic, Protestant, old, young, righteous, or sinful people inside its walls. It’s simply filled with grateful souls who know the Lord is God. It doesn’t matter if we worship alongside people who don’t recognize this. It’s only important that we do.
He made us. That’s how we come to Him, as beings shaped in His image and brought to life by His breath. That’s how He sees us. On the other hand, we make labels. This is why the Psalmist encourages us to center our worship exclusively on our Creator and disregard the differences we create.
We Are His People
We know Who God is. We know He made us. We know we’re His people. He’s our Shepherd. He loves us, nourishes us, and sustains our lives. Knowing this changes how we see others and ourselves. It strips away the labels, pretensions, prejudices, and insecurities that so often inhibit our worship of God and our love for one another.
Worship with gladness and joy. Forget how you look at people and how they look at you. See your Creator and marvel at His creation. Love the worshippers around you because, in God’s eyes, we’re all the same. Rejoice in being alive.
This sanctuary--and tens of thousands like it--is where we celebrate life.