I noticed that some people use to come late or at the middle of the church divine service. I find it inappropriate. What does the Bible say on this subject?
I do not remember a Bible verse that directly addresses this issue, but I think that being systematically late for divine service shows disrespect and lack of reverence to God. We are not talking here about contingencies that sometimes happen to everyone. But if someone has made the habit of being systematically late for divine services, I think he should think about the commandment that says:
You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. (Exodus 20:7)(NASB)
If you are a school teacher and there are some students that are systematically late for lessons, what message do they communicate you through this? Either your subject or your person is irrelevant to them and you can interpret it only as disrespect. But if you are constantly late for work, how does your boss feel like? And when you stand at the door of a shop that says it opens at 8:00 and after 15 or 20 minutes the seller does not come, how do you feel? Despised and offended.
We go to church worship services to worship God and learn from His Word. Therefore, we should behave with reverence and come in time at the beginning of the worship service.
Then, the one who is always late will more or less disturb those who came on time. So, being late will also be a manifestation of lack of respect to those who came on time.
I remember a Bible verse that says:
Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. (Ecclesiastes 5:1)(NASB)
So, guard your steps and have an attitude of reverence when you come to the house of God and if you draw near to listen to His Word to understand it, you’ll want to be there from the beginning to the end of the worship service. In contrast are fools who come into the house of God, but do not care too much what it is said or done there. They come to offer the sacrifice without an attitude of reverence to God and desire to understand His will as to accomplish it.
Let us guard our walk and honor God in all our walk.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru