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  • Writer's pictureAdam O'Neill

Journal Series No. 002 - "Lingering" - Sermon and Small Group Journal

The Weekly A sermon and small group journal

The following is an excerpt from The Weekly: A Sermon and Small Group Journal published independently by Adam O'Neill & Associates and available here.

We are commanded to remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy (Exodus 20:8). A major component of this, indeed the most outward component, is our regular attendance and membership at a Bible-believing church. As we cultivate a posture of viewing our time in church as more than a checkbox but a piece of heaven on earth, as I discussed in the introduction, we can wonder how to best allow this mindset to expand beyond our time in service to the rest of the Sabbath. For my patients, friends, and for myself, I recommend a practice I call “lingering.”

Just as our minds are prone to wander during a sermon to our plans for the day, the work of the week, or more distantly our hopes and fears for the future, I find that our posture as the service ends is to fellowship with others regarding these things. As quickly as the benediction ends we turn to our neighbors and ask: “What are your plans for the week?” “Where are you headed for lunch?” “Any update on your work situation?”. We do not allow the Word of God, as it is preached to us in service, to linger in our minds for longer than it takes to begin a postlude.

Instead, if we turned to our neighbor and said, “I was really challenged by XYZ” or “I’m working on trying to apply XYZ to my daily life but having trouble, any thoughts?” Suddenly the service as well as our mind, both set on God, have extended beyond the conclusion of the preached word and entered the worship service of our daily lives. We often speak of our lives being a form of worship, yet weekly we practice putting formal worship inside a box confined to sixty to ninety minutes within the four walls of a church building.

Eventually, conversations will turn to other things and fellowship among believers turns to lunch plans, work projects, and the issues of daily life. With the practice of lingering, however, the sweet aroma of worship follows us out the doors of the church and into our daily lives. Our prayer should be that this posture remains, until our good God has ordained we are revived of it again the following week.

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