I have been exploring the question:
“Why should I give up my Sunday morning to attend church?”
Worship is one answer.
It is a different experience worshiping with others as opposed to worshiping alone, as we saw in a previous post.
Continuing to explore worship:
Worship is about more than just me and Jesus.
We live in a very individualistic society. The ultimate goal is individual autonomy. “In modernity individuals insist on the right, individually and at any time, to do whatever they want or to do the same things as others are doing.” (Hiebert 168) So we talk about self-fulfillment, self-help…
Now I am not about rant about how this is a terrible thing (there are positive and negative aspects of this). All I ask is that we realize that this focus of our society shapes our theology.
One way it shapes our theology is that we believe that the goal of church is to help me personally, individually worship God. We come to the Sunday morning expecting to get some assistance in living out our own individual Christian life. We are there to worship God as an individual not as a community. So worship leaders invite us to close our eyes and imagine that we are alone with Jesus. Some don’t want to greet and shake people’s hands at the start of the service. Not because they are rude or anti-social, it is just that they have come as an individual to worship God.
This is not all wrong, please hear me say that.
But the goal of Sunday morning is not simply to equip us to live out our own individual Christianity, in other words to be able to worship alone. Worship is about more than just me and Jesus.
God desires for a community to worship him. Yes, he wants individuals to worship him. But the overarching thrust of the Bible is the formation of a community that worships him.
In the Old Testament the Jews were commanded to come together a few times a year and worship as community. Notice the command is not just stay at home and worship (though that was also important) it is to worship as a community. In the New Testament almost all of Paul’s writings (those are the books from Romans to Philemon) one of the major thrusts is Jews and Gentiles worshipping together. This is vital to Paul. It is not that they worship alone but that they worship together.
True worship draws a community together. If our worship does not draw and form a community of faith we need to ask are we really worshipping the God of the Bible?
Sunday morning accomplishes God’s will by simply worshipping as a community.