On Worship and Friends

Another set of friends are migrating away from here again. I suppose I could get all self-centered and depressing and moan about how much I’m going to miss them, but I’m going to try not to. Besides, I’ve recently had good friends move back to Atlanta, so I guess it all evens out.

This has all got me thinking about many of my friends and all the ups and downs we’ve been through together. Mostly, I’ve been thinking about all the gatherings we’ve had together, and how good it feels when everyone is there. How much we miss those who can’t make it and how much we say, “We should do this more often.”

I think about the Greek word “Koinenea” which the Word of God used so often to describe the interaction of believers and then I think about Jesus and the disciples. Did they have inside jokes that they shared between themselves and laugh about it? Did they weep together when their relatives died? Did they ache to see each other again when they were split to the four winds after Jesus’ death?

I think of the moments when I’m authentically worshiping God in song and conversation and not just mouthing words or letting my mind wander and how incredible it feels to be in a group of believers and praise the Lord. I think of the end of the world when all of us will be gathered together into God’s presence where we’ll worship Him forever. No leaving early to study for tests, write a paper, go to work, deal with the real world, move away to another city. Being together with your friends for eternity in the presence of God.

AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE TOPIC OF WORSHIP…

Every now and then I like to shake up how I worship by attending some different congregation. I firmly believe in being committed to one church where you can grow and learn, but sometimes to opportunity arises and I take a break. I worshipped this past Sunday at a Vineyard service among tattoos, piercings, and guitars. I love that we can worship God with both the piano and the drums, with the organ and the electric guitar, in choir robes or blue jeans.

Everybody seems to have their opinion of what the “right” way to worship is, whether it be raising your hands to Maranatha praise songs or singing the harmony while holding a hymnal. We think we worship in the right way and “they” just don’t get it. We take so much pride is our creativity and cleverness, thinking we can surprise God with a new song or a new method to worship. The reality is, we are all four year olds, holding up our crayon scribblings to the Father, and He accepts them with pleasure.

We are not a glamourous people, the Church (I’m not counting the made-up, hairsprayed icons on TV). We are an ugly lot, yet we are so obssessed with our self-image. We are hung-up with addictions, greed, and self-gratification, and yet we are the body that carries forth Christ’s Word. We are broken and yet beautiful with His shining glory, none of ours.

“and you know what? What I think is scary about God is that He didn’t come up with any Plan B. That he left the Church here and the Church is the only group of people, and the Church is the only institution that can bring about a change.” -Rich Mullins