One of the first things I look for when I enter a Catholic church is the sanctuary lamp (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctuary_lamp). When I see it I have, albeit briefly, a sense of comfort. Symbols are important to a lot of people: they are reminders of simple truths, the essence of something, stripped away from the complications of expressing a concept in definitive words.
It is important to have corporate worship. The public gathering of Christians to celebrate a liturgy serves a number of important purposes. It acknowledges YHWH as the one true God, who created us, sustains us, and died as one of us on a cross in Israel. This is an important declaration, a sign to the nations and the spirits that the Day of Judgment is coming, and that those of Adam’s race who repent and put their faith in Jesus can be saved.
The signs of our faith are a proclamation to the powers. Baptism reminds them of the Flood that destroyed the bodies of the Nephilim and occasioned the imprisonment of the Watchers in the Abyss. The eucharist proclaims the victory of Christ at Golgotha, when He made a spectacle of the powers of darkness and took the keys of Sheol from Baal Zebul. Incense ascending in columns signifies the prayers of the saints coming before the throne of YHWH, who will one day answer the question of the souls under the alter, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”
The enemy likes to silence the ministrations and prayers of the Church. We saw with ISIS, and we have seen many times before, the destruction of buildings, statues, and crosses, accompanied by the withdrawal of the liturgy from public space, celebrated in hiding underground. The enemy, when he cannot employ this tactic, will try to corrupt the liturgy: changing words, infusing idolatrous sentiments, and bringing in “ministers” who should not stand in the place of God’s servant.
This great insult occurred in the history of Israel at the Second Temple in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes (see 1 and 2 Maccabees and Josephus’ Wars of the Jews and Jewish Antiquities). I believe that a Third Temple will come one day and history will repeat itself in the days of the Antichrist. But his attention will not be restricted to Israel; the Book of Revelation tells us he will attack Christians as well.
In an age of confusion, it is important to remember that public services, which any person off the street can attend, should be clear in their proclamation of the Gospel and the basic truths of our faith. Corporate worship is first and foremost about honouring YHWH – in so doing, we announce His greatness and the need for all nations to come to him and renounce the powers of darkness.