In researching the early Christian church for this novel, my goal was to feel like I was sitting in the midst of a church meeting. to know what it was like for a Roman girl, raised to believe that there was a god for everything and how she can come to understand that there is only One True God and he sent his only Son to earth to die for us so that we can live forever in paradise with God.
As I got to know what the early church was like, I came to realize that the simplicity of their service: praise God with songs (singing Psalms), read letters of Paul and later read the Gospels, and then hear a message from the church leader on the meaning of the reading. Until I started attending a Calvary Chapel when I first moved to Phoenix, I hadn’t experienced the simple praise and worship service like the early church. After I bought my house, I started attending First Christian Church of Phoenix — a non-denominational church. I love the music and the basic praise and worship. No rules and regulations (I grew up Catholic), no ceremony and traditions, just simple praise and worship.
That’s all God wants from us. All the pomp and circumstance are fine, if we don’t lose the basics. Praising God with all abandon — not just singing along and living what we hear in church. Not just on Sunday. You’re not just there to fulfill your weekly obligation — you’re there to praise and worship — to learn how God wants us to live. God gave us Jesus so that we could live and the Bible and church to show us HOW to live.
Even back in the Old Testament days, God had a problem with how the people of Israel were worshiping Him. It’s not much different now.
The Lord says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is made up only of rules taught by men.” ~ Isaiah 29:13
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. ~ Deuteronomy 6:5
We honor the Lord, not just by going to church each Sunday, but by how we live our lives.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the LORD with the harp; make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. ~ Psalm 33: 1-5