"And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy." (Luke 24:52)
The benediction has been pronounced. You have taken a few moments to consider what has been said and done in the previous hour or more. Now you gather your family and your things, and you prepare to leave. But what should you do after worship?
The simple answer is: Continue your worship!
In the early church, the joy of the transforming grace of the gospel was the hallmark of worship. That joy permeated the lives of the early disciples. It did not leave them after they had gathered for corporate worship. It affected everything they did, and it became a force that influenced the world around them (see Acts 2:47 for an example). The same pattern ought to continue in our experience of worship today.
After worship, as you greet those around you, encourage them in the very things that have helped you in the worship that has preceded. "Aren't you thankful that we can know God and have his word preached?" "I so appreciated being reminded that the grace of God in Jesus Christ is greater than all of our sin and guilt!" "The hymns really ministered to me this morning." "What a joy that the Lord met with us again!" "I am resolved to go home and serve the Lord more zealously." Or, if you are greeting a visitor, you might simply say, "It's so good to have you with us! Please join us again. We love to have other people with us to worship the Lord and hear the gospel preached!"
On your way home, think about what you learned and how the sermon challenged you. Discuss these things with your family. What were the points that were made? What did they teach us about the Scriptures? How must my life change, based on what I heard? What personal and family commitments should we make in the light of today's message from the Word of God? The point is: Continue your worship, just as the early Christian disciples did.
Remember the very real danger that "the cares of this world" will choke the word you have received in worship, so that it becomes unfruitful (see Matt. 13:22). Worship doesn't end after a worship service! Let your joy and obedient response continue throughout the week!
The author is pastor of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Franklin Square, New York. He quotes the NKJV. Reprinted from New Horizons, October 2008. First article in series. Index.