North Point 
Alliance Church 
English Ministry

CONTACT
Rev. Stera Chan
Pastor Lawrence Choy
+852 2807 5200
em@npac.org.hk

ADDRESS
2/F Phase 2, Maximall
233 Electric Road
North Point, Hong Kong

Worship Services: “Resume Normalcy”, “As Before” and “Everlasting”

By Rev. K.T. Pun

February 18, 2024

       With the pandemic easing, worship services at church and everyday life have resumed normalcy. The need to wear masks is significantly reduced. There are no longer mandatory anti-pandemic measures. Strong safeguards are a thing of the past. Some people may even feel uncomfortable should they be required to occasionally put on a mask. “Comfort” and “normality” are people’s hearts’ desire after the easing of the pandemic.

       When things gradually go back to normal, we live life as usual. The past difficulties are slowly forgotten. All this is the process of the healing of the soul. “Resuming normalcy” puts us back to the situation “as before.” If the situation “as before” entails good habits, it is not only necessary but can also be an expression of piety. In the Old Testament when Daniel was captured and taken to Babylon, he was kept and used by God. He became a senior government official who administered the entire land of Babylon. But advised by the enemies, the king forbade people to pray to any gods. Faced with this kind of religious persecution, Daniel, as recorded in the Bible, “Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” (Daniel 6:10). Daniel’s prayers as before were his habits of piety. Persistence in “piety as before” amid persecution is a choice of faith.

       However, if we look at worship life as a kind of routine, then we may have neglected an important meaning of worship, which is renewal of life. Worship life as before is an important, good habit. But if after attending worship services for a long time, our spiritual life sees no growth and our bad habits continue, then we must reflect on whether we have really experienced God in worship. That is why for a long time, we have stressed three important meanings of worship: Worship is dedicating oneself to God, conversing with God and seeking greater likeness of God in order that our lives can be renewed continually.

       Meanwhile, we should also consider worship service as a “lasting” part of the spiritual life of the people of God. I emphasize “lasting” here because worship has to do with eternity. In terms of time, eternity refers to the everlasting with no end. In terms of space, eternity refers to a different dimension that is heavenly. Thus, Revelation 4 & 5 reveal a picture about heavenly worship at a time when believers suffer great tribulations on earth. That is to encourage suffering believers. After worship services, the continual renewal of our spiritual life is a natural result of experiencing God. The process of experiencing God is an encounter with the Eternal God. It does not only depend on personal habit, preference or even talent but, above all, on the work of the Holy Spirit.

       The Christian and Missionary Alliance forerunner A.W. Tozer says it well in his book Whatever Happened to Worship: “A worshipper can work with eternal quality in his work.” I believe it is because our worship is the important starting point of our eternal service, and “eternity” is taking place “at present.”