Key Habits for Sunday Readiness Day 3 – Active Participation
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42, ESV)
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. (Acts 20:7, ESV)
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:15-16, ESV)
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. (1 Corinthians 11:26, ESV)
In our study of preparing ourselves for Sunday readiness, we will next look at making sure we actively participate during the remembrance meeting or worship service. In our first two studies this week, we discussed the idea of preparing ourselves for the Breaking of Bread meeting (communion), and now we need to make sure that we actually participate when the time comes! Before getting started, I want to emphasize that the goal isn’t to check a box, fill time, or force participation. Our goal should be to come ready to participate and contribute to the remembrance at hand.
One thing we learned about preparation for Sunday morning meeting is that it is not something that will happen accidentally. We need to set aside time throughout the week, preferably each day, to read, pray, study, and make sure we are prepared for the remembrance of the Lord. And as it takes action on our part in order to be prepared, so our participation in the church meeting is also an active thing. Active participation in the Breaking of Bread meeting will look different for different people and also will depend on what’s going on in the meeting at that time.
For men, active participation would include standing up to pray and share thoughts about the Lord Jesus, giving out a hymn for the congregation to sing, or sharing a short message about the Lord Jesus. However, it would also include praying silently, singing a hymn, partaking of the bread and wine, and even sitting and silently enjoying the prayer of another brother. For women, active participation would include praying silently, singing a hymn, partaking of the bread and wine, and silently enjoying the prayer of another.
Active participation doesn’t have to be audible. The important thing about participation is that outside distractions be put to the side and our thoughts stay on Christ. It can be very easy to spend the entire service thinking about our plans for later that day, what we need to get done at work over the next week, what our kids are doing during the service—the distractions are endless. It will be difficult to actively participate unless we first put aside distractions as best we can.
We read in Acts 2:42 that the Christians devoted themselves to the meetings of the church. We can show our devotion by actively participating in the meetings of the church. Our participation should be measured and intentional, and should contribute to the tenor of the gathering. Though there will certainly be weeks that are busy and times when we fall short, it should be our goal to actively participate each week in the remembrance of the Lord. In preparing and participating—actively— we will please the Lord and will help ensure that the remembrance meeting is a blessing and encouragement to all. It would be my prayer that we would not only actively prepare, but that we would actively participate in the remembrance of our Savior.