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The church isn't an organization or a building. The church is a family—God’s family, filled with redeemed sinners that are now his children because of Jesus.
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“Our hearts are stirred by greatness, and are moved by it to tears, laughter, and joy. It’s only increased when we experience greatness with other people.”
The underdog team rallies and upsets the favorites in the championship game, and the crowd goes wild. The curtain falls at the end of a powerful performance, and the audience rises to their feet with a standing ovation. The famous band closes their show with their classic song, and the concertgoers hoot and holler hoping for an encore.
You don’t have to love sports, theater, or music to understand and appreciate each of those scenarios. Our hearts are stirred by greatness, and are moved by it to tears, laughter, and joy. It’s only increased when we experience greatness with other people. As C.S. Lewis put it, “We delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation” (Reflections on the Psalms). Our hearts were made to awe and wonder at greatness and share that greatness with each other. In each of the examples above, people are gathered together with the common purpose of praising greatness -“Did you see that?”, “That was amazing!”
In many ways, gathering together on Sunday as the bride of Christ to worship is no different. What greater thing to praise is there than God Himself and all He has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ? Indeed, one could argue that any greatness we see in the world is a reflection of the very greatness of God (see Colossians 1:16-17). So why aren’t our hearts as taken while together with God’s people as they are when our favorite team wins? Why aren’t we as moved by what Christ has done for us as we are by an evening at the theater? Why doesn’t the presence of the Holy Spirit of God moving as His people gather have us as excited as we would be at a concert?
To answer these questions, we need to actually understand what corporate worship truly is. And the answer is not just showing up at church for a service. It’s far more than that! It’s music and song, but more than that. It’s prayer and the faithful preaching of His word, but more than that. It’s a wholehearted, whole-person entering in to what God has done and is doing together with brothers and sisters who have also tasted His goodness. There is a grace and glory that God reserves for corporate worship, and amazingly, He invites us in to what He is doing as participants. We get to be the athletes, actors and artists, not for own glory, but as mirrors to reflect His image and goodness to each other and to the watching world.
Reggie is a member of Cornerstone and serves the church as Sunday Morning Director and as a non-vocational elder.
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