Summary: Our primary purpose in gathering weekly is to worship our Awesome God.
September 24, 2005
As we come here, weekly for worship together as the family of God, on occasions we need to reorient ourselves about where we are and what we are doing here. We need to think through, even from a family point-of-view what the purpose and meaning of this gathering is all about. We are here for several purposes. However, one transcends all the others, and that is the purpose of worship, together, extended toward God. I believe this is a shared value of our congregation. When we completed the NCD profile a year ago, we identified the need to raise the standard of our worship services; this told us that we had a shared value in this area and that we wanted something special to happen here each week when we come together. We have been working toward that, and this is a continuing ‘work in progress’, as, I think, we all know.
Heb.10.24, 25 gives us an encouragement for our gatherings. This applies to all gatherings, without question- to our need to meet in each other’s homes for time and meals together, our need to get together at Tim Horton’s, our need to go canoeing together, our need to pray together, our need to have church committee meetings together, our need to study scripture together, our need to enjoy small groups together, and our need to worship, in a more formal gathering, together. We meet weekly. From what I hear from different parts of our congregation, we want good music to respond to a variety of preferences, we want to be free to pray for someone or an issue when it comes forward and touches us, we want excellent, helpful, and meaty messages, and we want great fellowship, because we enjoy being together. Our weekly gathering, a high point for our week, we always hope, is meant to be adequately prepared, yet with lots of room for the Spirit to interrupt our plans when He chooses to do so and to include something else needed.
Please picture where we are when we come together, especially for the weekly worship service:
Rev.4- This is an incredible picture of being in the presence of an awesome God. When we come here, we want to meet God. Each of us comes with particular needs, even as each of us comes with something to give, to God and to one another. What happens here is so multi-faceted it is nothing short of incredible. Sometimes someone comes very discouraged and leaved encouraged. Sometimes someone intersects the life of another with just the right words or expression of affection to bring a healing from a difficult week, month, or year. Sometimes God intersects and brings just the right message, through a song, prayer, or message, that answers what someone has been questioning the previous night or week, or something someone was ‘wondering about’ is brought into focus, without ‘anyone’ knowing about it…except God, of course. So, indeed, we are here on ‘holy ground’ when we come to God.
We, evangelical protestants, and as part of the western world, have a tendency to want to believe that we know all about God, to put Him into boxes, and to bring him down to our level. We like to focus on God, Jesus, and the Spirit as our friends, and they are. However, sometimes, the role is different and we need to allow lots of space for that.
John 17.24- Jesus takes the leadership sometimes and drags us, or leads us, places we never anticipated being. This is what has happened within our denomination. This is what has happened within our camp program. This is what is happening within this congregation. Jesus, our friend, is wonderful and we want to keep that picture. But, in addition, as we affirmed in baptism, or at other times, Jesus is our Lord, Master, High Priest, and King. Jesus, as the Father, and the Holy Spirit, is above us. He is interested in showing us great things and deep things. We come, on the sea of glass, into the glorious throne room, and we come expectantly when we do. So, we have to consider how we come, and we have to consider how we can heighten our being here.
I’d like to consider something from a family perspective- maybe more from a perspective of some families than others, but a good thing- as it comes from scripture.
Eph.6.1ff- children are to ‘obey’ their parents. This is a novel concept these days, I know, when society speaks of so many rights, some of which are necessary to protect children who aren’t being properly cared for and about. But, let’s consider this general principle. We are all children to God and God certainly obeys his part- v.4- to not provoke us or give us more than we can handle or expect too much of us. We owe to Him obedience, respect, and highest regard.