Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why We Worship Together

Well, school is out and summer is here! As I write this article, I’m reflecting on a presentation I heard at the men’s Crosswalk retreat. The words I heard that weekend are still ringing in my ears: “Don’t try to do this on your own.” The presenter was highlighting a crucial element in the life of the believer who is striving to follow Jesus – community.

When I heard these words, I immediately thought about why it’s important for us to worship together and make the commitment to attend worship regularly. According to scripture, we have been created to thrive in community. God recognized that it was not good for Adam to be alone and created a help-mate, Eve (Gen. 2:18).

The words of scripture also encourage us to “keep meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25) and to encourage one another through “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19) as we are led by the Spirit. In the second chapter of Acts, we read about the early church and how “they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). This is a good model for us in an age where we are so easily enticed to stay disconnected and distracted from the needs and encouragement of our community. When we meet on Sunday mornings the very act of participating together in worship fosters “glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46). This in turn encourages unity and growth in the Body of Christ(Acts 2:47).

I have heard people say that they will “worship on their own” in the car with a worship music CD or participate in a worship service online at home. There is a time and place for worshiping and praying in solitude and it was modeled for us by Jesus (Luke 6:12). Our busy lives can certainly prevent us from making it to church every Sunday morning, and it is good to have alternatives for when we’re out of town or on vacation. But committing to being at church regularly to worship with the community whenever you are in town has a significant spiritual and unifying impact on the Body of Christ!

May you be blessed as you enjoy this summer!