Summary: As we segue from community to worship and the importance of worship
February 5, 2017
For the past 4 weeks we’ve been talking about community. We know it’s important, but we often struggle with community. We get confused about how to cultivate real relationships, we struggle once we’re in them, and sometimes when 2 or 3 are gathered, we make community something which is not to be desired.
The goal is life transformation through Jesus Christ.
So, what do we do? We find community in other places. We may go to the bar, join a community organization, volunteer somewhere hoping to find what we long for. We may get involved in the church, we may even do nothing . . . or we can do what so many other people have done . . .
Get involved in cyber-communities. Yup, cyber-communities are communities you find on the internet. There was Cy-World in South Korea. Cy-World was proclaimed to be a “parallel universe unto itself.'
Cyworld wasn't a game; the goal wasn't to slay dragons or accumulate points but to socialize with 'cybuddies.'" The website said, Cyworld "emphasizes relationships between relatives, neighborhood friends, and co-workers — people who have already met in real life but yearn to also hang out online."
Don’t we have that as well? We had MySpace, anyone remember that? Then we moved on to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and whatever is next.
When you think about it, our world is becoming more and more impersonal. It's easier to hang out with friends in an online virtual world, than to have face-to-face interaction. We’ve become less interactive with family and friends. We'd rather talk to someone via texting, than to actually talk to them.
When you think about the younger generation, consider the difficulties I believe they will have communicating when all they do is text, and don’t really talk to one another. For those who grew up before the texting age, do you remember having a boy or girl friend. You spoke to them on the phone, as weird as it was, and as exhilarating as it was... You communicated and they heard your voice. Rant over!
I wonder if the church has followed the ways of this world and become more virtual than real? After all, if you don’t want to attend worship, you can always watch on TV or online. So, how can we reclaim true community and worship in the church?
In Romans 12:1-8, the apostle Paul offers some practical steps for us to grow as a community of worshipers as brothers and sisters in Christ.
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought,
but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;
7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach;
8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. — Romans 12:1-8
We may look around the sanctuary and say, "That person is not like me. We don't look alike. We don't have the same interests." But God says we are one body through our common faith in Jesus Christ. AND each member belongs to one another. Yikes! Think of the implications of that statement.
Most people love their families. Let's start with parents. We love our parents, but there are those rare times when our parents can drive us crazy. They know exactly what to do and say that will "push our buttons." There are times we’ve lashed back, said hurtful things and embarrassed them. Yet, at the end of the day, the common trait that binds us together is that we share the same blood. In the end, we love them . . . no matter what!
The same holds true for those of us who have brothers and sisters. Growing up, I had two older sisters. They fought like crazy. My older sister and I were inseparable. She taught me to play sports and we went everywhere together. My other sister didn’t like me. She wanted a girl and didn’t like the fact I was a boy. Yet, there were times my older sister and I got into fights and arguments. But, in the end, we were always there to support and love one another. We would do anything for one another. Why? They’re my sisters and we share the same blood!