Walking around the city of Vienna after work earlier this week I stumbled across three musicians who were entertaining passers-by. Like many others I paused for a while to listen, and even recorded a short video clip on my phone. When I played that clip back I was surprised to see several youngsters in the background dancing to the music. I hadn’t noticed the dancers while I was there because I was completely focused on listening to the music. Before I stopped recording they were gone.Vienna music 2

It occurred to me that sometimes we become so focused on just one thing that we fail to see what is going on around us. Now if we consider ourselves to be followers of Jesus, and we happen to be lost in wonder, awe and praise, etc., then arguably this is an acceptable condition. However, while there are times when it is right and beneficial to be lost in worship, there are also times when we need to be alert to what is going on around us. Not just alert, but sensitive and reactive too.

I wonder how many people in our church fellowships are hurting to the point of screaming inside without showing their desperate need for a shoulder, an ear, or some other form of support? How many have needs and worries that require our help? What are we missing every week when we spend time together in God’s house? Isn’t church supposed to be a family? One thing I do know about family is that family will generally go to extraordinary lengths to provide for, protect and forgive other family members.

If church truly demonstrated the characteristics of a loving supportive family to the world then the world might just be breaking the door down to join our family. Jesus welcomed us into His family and taught us that God is our Father. Shouldn’t we be sharing such a message? Once again it all begins with us and with our church families. If love is absent from our fellowships then they will repel rather than attract, regardless of how good the preacher is or how well the musicians play. Perhaps more of us need to open our eyes in worship. We might be surprised at where the Holy Spirit is directing our gaze.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Galatians 6:9-10 NIV)