The Altar Before Us

Saturday, September 9, 2023
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Soldiers Of Christ Arise"1 (Lyrics)

A few weeks ago, an article appeared in the newspaper, entitled "Why GenXers Aren't Going Back to Church." You can imagine that there was a wide variety of reasons for people 41-56 years old.

Some were busy with work and kids. Others were empty nesters and ready to enjoy life. Several admitted that they had just gotten out of the habit since COVID-19. Then, there were those who had given up on the institutionalized church.

Rather than become defensive, I wonder: if they are not worshipping at the altar of Jesus Christ, where or what are they worshipping?

If they are attending a rock concert and worship a musician they love, or a sporting event where the athletes are glorified, it is doubtful that they will get much in the way of adoration or glory in return. Of course, the real danger with a false altar is that it can break the second commandment, "You shall not make for yourself an idol." (Exodus 20:4a NRSVA)

The same holds true if they worship at the altar of fame and fortune. This altar is not just about money or climbing ladders. It can be become self-destructive, for Jesus warns, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth … for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19a,21 NRSVA)

We know that idolatry and false worship have been around for ages. We also know that the altar of Jesus Christ is before us where, "the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth." (John 4:23a NRSVA)

The word "worship" is derived from the word "worth". When we worship at the altar of Jesus Christ, we are doing something worthwhile by providing ourselves with meaning, purpose, and direction.

The hour is now. It is time for us not only to invite a GenXer back to worship in Spirit and truth, but it is a higher calling for those of us who are willing to mentor this next generation. As mentors one-on-one, we can help to discern and sort through the conflicting cultural priorities, values, and views which tend to separate us from God and our biblical beliefs.

We need not simply be the "adult in the room", but we can also be mature adults who have a little wisdom under our belts and are willing to meet at a personal level. We can at least ask questions and encourage a conversation between the generations about what it might mean to follow Jesus. Also, it may be fair to ask what God expects of you, me, and our churches today, and how can we pray together for such an expectation to be realized. Such questions demonstrate the openness of the church to invite GenX seekers to the altar before us where we can worship together and experience the "peace of God, which surpasses all understanding." (Philippians 4:7a NRSVA)

Prayer: Almighty God, as we kneel before Your altar in Spirit and in truth, clothe us in Your Spirit and help us to reach out with hands and hearts of love to those who do not yet know You, so that all that we do may be to Your honour and glory in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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About the author:

Robin Jennings <>
Louisville, Kentucky, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen, Robin.

    Great question Robin – so very true. God Bless you.

    In times of pain and suffering we can reach out to those who can’t find comfort elsewhere.

    Amen, Robin, thank you for sharing this encouraging devotional with us today. To God be the glory! Blessings.

    Dear Robin, what an amazing message! Thank you so much.
    (Q C, CANADA)

    Thank you, Robin, for today’s devotion.
    I like it very much.

    Such a wisdom filled devotion sent to all who want to be laborers in the harvest of souls. May our prayers be for this seemingly lost generation. With God nothing is impossible. Thank you, Robin, for bringing this to our attention.

    Thank you for your very thoughtful and meaningful words today, Robin. Yes, there sure is a gap in regular church attendance these days especially when Covid came along, and it was more convenient for many to just stay at home and listen to services on their devices. Prayers are sure needed to encourage the members of the younger generations how important it is to gather together to learn more about our Lord and give Him praise for His ongoing love and care.
    Blessings for your writings.

    Good morning, Robin,
    I can relate to almost everything you mentioned. Our church building has seats for over 200 people. Many years ago it was full. Now on a good Sunday about 40 attend worship and most are seniors. No children.
    I don’t like the adoration of sports heroes. I had a friend who was a professional hockey player, I admired him I liked him, but I did not worship him. The adoration of so called “stars” is beyond my comprehension.
    As I watch my grandchildren, it seems to me that they spend so much time, playing with or entertaining their children that there seems to be no time for church, that is if they were interested. As one of my grandsons told me, “we are happy with the life we have” Church, faith in God is if no or perhaps little interest to them. Mind you, they are good, hardworking people.
    Good words this morning Robin, thank you.
    Blessings on you and yours.

    Hi Robin
    Sorry to hear that your “Gen Xers” have stopped coming to your church. Our church does not have that problem – almost the opposite. I think the reason that we have been so successful with this age group is that the service is directed in style, music, and in tone to that generation (especially music!). As a “Boomer,” do feel that I have been left out? Not really. I’d love to sing the older songs, but my heart is SO warmed by the young people coming to know Jesus as I did when I was in my 20s. I encourage you, if you are not already doing so, to direct your worship services entirely to that generation, and see what happens.

    Thank you for this challenge, Robin.

    Hello Robin,
    Thank you for your devotional “The Altar before Us”. There are so many reasons why folks don’t attend church any more – it’s mind boggling. I find many of these reasons simply as excuses. I like the points you made and defining the word “worship”. I remember getting confirmed. During our ceremony during worship, our Pastor’s last words were “I hope this doesn’t mean that I won’t be seeing you in church anymore.” Because now, the journey really begins, doesn’t it.
    Thank you, Robin. Many blessings,

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