Come On Back: A Bible Study for Asbury's Worship
by Rev. Lee Johnson
june 6, 2021
Have you noticed the recent incentives being used to entice people to get a COVID vaccine? As of this week, it's estimated that 62.8% of American adults have already received at least one dose of the shot. That’s still short of the mark necessary for “herd” immunity. So to help achieve the mark, states, politicians, corporations, and others are using giveaways to encourage people to "roll up their sleeves," so to speak. Krispy Kreme is offering one free donut per day for the rest of the year just for showing up with your vaccination card. Anheuser-Busch has pledged to buy all Americans, 21+ of course, a round of beer once the nation achieves the 70% mark. The state of Ohio is giving away five full-ride scholarships to any in-state school for residents between the ages of 12 and 17 who have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. In Arkansas, those who have received the COVID vaccine can score a $20 gift certificate for use toward a hunting or fishing license. Kinda makes you wonder, what’s next? What do you think of the incentives? Should people be rewarded for doing something like taking a COVID vaccination?
What about church? Maybe the church needs to offer up some incentives to get people to come back to worship. Major league baseball is worried people are slow in coming back to the game. The same can be said for movie theaters and others forms of entertainment. The church is no different. In fact, the internet is full of stories from pastors and other church leaders worried about whether or not people will come back to church and worship. While technology has expanded the ways the church reaches out to people, has it taken the place of a Sunday morning in-person worship experience? That’s the question people want to know. Here’s what I know. At Asbury, since re-opening for worship on the first Sunday in May, it has been a slow go. But, here is the good news – post-COVID worship will necessitate some re-thinking of what it means to gather for worship. Liturgy and songs, sermons and prayers, will need to be all the more relevant. Just as Asbury reached out to thousands of people in our community with a 24/7 Food Pantry in a relevant and meaningful manner, the post-COVID Asbury might do well to take the next step and invite all those folks inside our doors. But how? Maybe an incentive? What are some incentives the church might offer to entice people to come in our doors for post-COVID worship? What does the church have to offer that no one else can offer? Be creative! Come up with some incentives!
This month at Asbury, we are talking about the church in worship - as in what does a church offer that is uniquely the church? This week’s scripture is Psalm 121. It’s a Psalm that tells us where to look in times of trouble and sorrow: look up and look to God. Is that a relevant and meaningful message for post-COVID worship? At the end of worship this week, everyone will be given a small packet containing a sealed wafer and grape juice. It’s the post-COVID way of experiencing God in Holy Communion. Your hands will hold what the Christian church calls the gifts of grace and hope, forgiveness and love. Are these relevant gifts in a post-COVID world? Are they found in other places in just as meaningful a representation? I’m not certain I know all the answers. I do know I need you to help me figure it out. I guess that’s my incentive for getting you to come to worship this week! Have you ever used an incentive to get someone in your family to come to worship with you? How did it work?
Asbury's Weekend Worship: https://www.visitasbury.org/worship/
Beginning Sunday, June 6 at 11:00 am for Live-Stream, or 5:00 pm for Recorded Worship
"Look up to God!"