Coming Together for Worship
Over the years, some folks have shared with me that they feel closest to God when they are alone (and even outdoors) – that those are the times they are filled with awe and God’s presence. They don’t feel that way about God when they are in a Worship Service in a Sanctuary in a church building. If they want to get close to God, they just go out into nature. They don’t feel like they need the “church” and are tired of all the “churchy” arguments and disagreements that go on amongst God’s people. Someone even told me, “I feel like I can still love and worship God without the church.”
I must admit, I have certainly had my moments of thinking that way. I enjoy my moments seeking peace from God and from being away from the “church.” Private worship is certainly valuable and important. It is vital to our faith journey to find moments where we feel alive in God’s presence on our own. But, we shouldn’t limit worship to just a one-on-one thing. That is an incomplete faith. It’s half of the greatest commandment. We’re called to love God and to love others.
It’s important to “get something” out of worship. However, that feeds into our consumer mentality: that worship is about us and our preferences. If our faith in Jesus consistently leads us to ask, “What’s in it for me?” I’m afraid that we might be a bit confused – even disappointed. Following Jesus leads us to ask, “What’s in it for others?”
When we remove ourselves from “church” to worship God on our own, we eliminate the beauty of community. And we were created for relationships. We were not meant to go through life alone. The bottom line is: we are broken people. Our church/faith community can get messy. Sometimes, being around others is tiring and just plain draining, making it easy to say, “That’s it! I’ve had enough!” My dad always reminded me that nothing worth having ever comes from taking the easy way. And while there are times when community is messy, there are more times when community is beautiful. Just plain beautiful! Being part of the church is a beautiful mess! It’s also a reminder that we are not alone, and I (for one) need that reminder often. Quite often!
We gather for Sunday or Wednesday Worship to be reminded that we are stronger together – that we are in this thing called “life” together. When we come together for worship, we are reminded that our faith – our lives – are really not just about “me.” Worship connects us to God and to one another. Worship reminds me that you are a child of God just as much as I am. Worship reminds me that Jesus is the center of my life and that we are called and sent out into this world of ours together. Together! Blessings!
Continue to Shine**!! (Daniel 12:3)
-Pastor Don