Worship in the Church: Part II
This is part 2 in a series I am doing on what to expect when you come to church. If you have not read part 1, I encourage you to do so.
Have you ever wondered where your next meal was going to come from? This thought might be new to you; you maybe have never had to wonder where your next meal was going to come from. But, for some, this is an all too real thing. My wife, when she has had conversations with the homeless in Syracuse, has told me that this is one of the main concerns of those who are in poverty and without natural security in the world. Uncertainty about receiving that which sustains your life is a scary thought. Though you maybe have not worried about this particular thing, perhaps you understand the mentality in spiritual terms. Perhaps you sometimes have felt deprived of spiritual nourishment, spiritual food. The struggle against sin and the devil can leave one exhausted and starved for God’s grace. You need a meal, but where will it come from and where might you receive it?
Everyone knows Christians gather together to worship every Sunday. Both believers and unbelievers alike know this. It might not be hard to find a Christian on a Tuesday afternoon. But, it is easy to find Christians on a Sunday morning. Why are they there and what are they doing? As Christians, we come to church on Sunday for a variety of reasons. Generally, though, there is an implicit mindset that we come to church to do something. We come to sing. We come to study. We come to worship. These are true things; they all involve some kind of active participation. But, at best the idea that we come merely to do something loses out on a very important factor: God is doing something to us. It is a good thing to avoid consumeristic ideas when it comes to what churches we join and why we join them. We want to avoid the mindset that says: “what’s in it for me?” At the same time, we also want to avoid the mentality that makes worship merely some kind of work that says: “I do not expect anything from God. I am merely here to serve Him.” The reality is: we come to serve and to be served.
It is delightful to have a friend welcome you into their home in order to serve you a meal. How much more to be served by our God. It is also fitting to thank your hosts as a guest in their house. How fitting is it to respond in thanksgiving to God’s service for his service to us. God brings us into His worship because He knows it is exactly what we need. He calls us to worship because He wants to give you something. In Church on the Lord’s Day, God, in His infinite goodness, gives you the grace you need to persevere in this life. God produces and feeds our faith in the reading and preaching of the word of Christ (Romans 10:17); He gives grace in times of need as we with confidence draw near to the throne of grace in prayer, and as we prayerful singing the word of Christ to each other (Hebrews 4:16; Colossians 3:15-16); He gives us spiritual nourishment and encouragement as we come to participate together at the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 10:16). The Lord promises us a feast of grace as we come to worship Him in faith, on the Lord’s Day. We are people who possess countless blessings from the Lord. And, our response as the Lord works through word, prayer, and sacrament: thanksgiving. We did nothing to receive this; The Lord did everything. Our response is merely one of rightful thanks as we heed His call in humble faith.
So, you need not worry; you do not have to guess. You can know for certain where your next spiritual meal is coming from. Our spiritual food comes from the Lord, and it comes during the gathering of His people on the Lord’s Day. So, when Sunday comes around, be prepared to eat.