It's riding the wave with uninhibited concert goers as the music sweeps through and everyone sings the chorus at the top of their lungs. It's the members of a choir, breathing together and phrasing together and enunciating together, locked in to the conductor's swinging arm from the piece's start to it's finish. It's sitting at a desk in a classroom having a light bulb moment, connecting the information to reality, the teacher to the student and the students to each other. It's the poignant experience of the grieving crowd at a funeral who watches a life played out in a slideshow or the crowd in the waiting room as they celebrate the newest addition to the family. It's the room's response to Jesus after the prayer that seems to come from the heart of God Himself, touching each individual heart and the church as a whole.
This kind of captive, empathetic and participating audience always gives me the feeling of being on a train, headed to the same place, everyone sitting in the same car excited about the journey and engaged in the same conversation, viewing the same scenery albeit with different vantage points, and arriving at the same time. For those moments, everyone is present. The experience becomes significant and the unity gives a sense of strength and community. For those moments we are not alone.
This got me thinking of our Sunday Worship Gatherings...
Oh how I yearn for each moment we are together to be authentic encounters with Jesus, not just as isolated strangers but as a whole, as members of a family.
In singing, in giving our offerings of praise and money, in praying and listening and reciting Scripture, in setting up chairs and volunteering in the kids rooms, in advancing the slides and dimming the lights, setting out coffee and emptying trash cans, in greeting and handshaking and hugging and responding- in everything let us be of one mind and one heart.
Jesus said (in John 17):
20 “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
The unity that Jesus speaks of transcends time and space and stretches to the days and places in between our weekly Sunday meetings. It's a unity of mission and beliefs and relationships with one another but I'm not sure we realize we should continue to pursue unity in our Worship Gatherings too!
Let us resolve together to be unified in worship, fully present and fully engaged. Let's turn off our phones! Let's take every thought captive! We're singing a new song tonight about zeroing out distractions, focusing on God and letting down our walls. The lyrics are simple,
"Come on my soul,
come on my soul
Let down the walls
and sing my soul
Come on, come on,
come on, come on
It's time to look up"
Let us be unified so that Christ may be glorified and our brothers and sisters edified by our active participation in worshipping and responding to the Risen Lord.
...Come hop on the train. :)
1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!