When it comes to watching movies, I can be a bit of a crank. I just don’t like them. I’d rather spend two hours doing something else.
Over the past several months, however, I’ve watched more movies than ever before (which still isn’t very many). Part of that is due to everything that’s been going on, but more than anything we just started watching movies together as a family because it’s fun.
See, when it comes to watching movies with a 1 year old, you end up watching the 1 year old instead of the movie. Fortunately, my wife and I alternate who’s watching the movie and who’s watching our younger son.
It also helps that we watch a lot of movies again (and again and again and again). If I miss several scenes because I’m watching our 1 year old, I can still tune in and enjoy the bits I do see because I know what’s going on. But doing that with a new movie frustrates me. Missing 5 to 15 minute chunks is no way to enjoy a new movie! I’d rather not watch at all and wait for a quiet time to enjoy the movie in peace.
For the foreseeable future, this might be your temptation when it comes to Sunday morning worship at Prairie View. Without childcare, you might be worried that you won’t be listening to God’s Word as much as you’ll be listening to children—whether they’re yours or not!
But worshiping God is not like watching a movie.
You can’t watch a movie if you’re watching a child instead. And you can’t enjoy a movie if you can’t hear it. But you can worship God while you’re watching a child. And you can worship God without hearing every bit of every prayer or song or sermon.
You can worship God by being patient with children and their parents (1 Corinthians 13:4). You can worship God by being encouraging and helpful (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Galatians 6:2). You can worship God by loving the children in the church and by making them feel welcome (1 Peter 4:9). This will be strange and difficult for them, too!
You can worship God by loving what he loves (Ephesians 5:25). Even if things don’t go as planned, simply gathering together with a body of believers demonstrates to our children the importance of the people of God (1 Peter 2:9). You can worship God by modeling to the next generation what faithfulness to him looks like.
All of these things are true whether or not that noisy kid belongs to you.
And like those movies we watch time and time again, the more familiar you grow with God, the more you will take away from broken or disrupted or slightly distracted Sunday morning gatherings. When you know what God is up to, you won’t need to hear every word to follow along. God’s Word is at work in you just as much when you respond in patience and love to your little restless neighbor as when you are quietly listening to the Word preached. It may just be the case that God’s Word is even more active when your patience is put to the test.
Worship isn’t a matter of being quiet and free from distractions. No matter your age, worship is a matter of beholding God. And unlike a movie, it doesn’t need to be quiet for you to see that God is wonderful as he works in and through his people. Yes, it might be a little more difficult, but why would you want to spend your time doing anything else?