On January 11, 1942—now almost 80 years ago—George W. Truett stood in our pulpit to deliver a sermon entitled “The Habit of Public Worship.” Our church was in an uncertain time. The country had been pulled into the second World War after the bombing of Pearl Harbor just a few weeks before. Families in the church sent their sons off to foreign lands to fight brutal enemies, not knowing whether they would ever return. The economy was changing drastically to meet the demands of the war effort. The future of our entire civilization suddenly seemed fragile and unsure.
Truett encouraged the church with these words:
“One of the supreme habits in life to be magnified without ceasing by everybody is the habit of faithful attendance upon the public worship of God. The matter of one’s habits is one of the most momentous matters in life. Life is largely won or lost by the kind of habits that we enthrone in our lives.”
“You want to join with your fellow soldiers, your fellow workers, your fellow sufferers and come to God’s house. And you want it [to be] a habit – a reigning, dominant habit – in your lives, every one of you; every one of you. A dominant habit in your lives.”
We can look back now at how our church responded to the pastor’s call amidst the greatest crisis of their lives. They never gave up the crucial habit of corporate worship. Their resiliency to trust in God and to pursue his mission together throughout an uncertain season led to the tremendous ministry our church has had in the last eight decades.
Today, we find ourselves facing challenges not so different from the ones our church experienced back then. The pandemic has upended our lives and our finances in ways that were unimaginable several months ago. The future of our country seems particularly unclear. But the way forward for our church is clear. As our pastor, Dr. Jeffress, often reminds and encourages us, whether you are joining us on site or online, it is essential you maintain the habit of worship and remain intimately connected to the body of Christ Jesus. Together, in Christ, we will emerge from this season energized for continued ministry as we pursue God’s mission.