J. Gordon Duncan

Culture, Business, Fitness, Etc.

Worship Should Remove Anonymity

v-for-vendetta-maskThis is our 3rd post in our ongoing worship series.  You can find the first two here and here.

In the book of Ezra, as God returns His people from a time of exile, we find that God sends thousands of them back home to begin rebuilding the temple.  In chapter two, there are 70 verses of names.  These are the people who are sent back to start that difficult work.

Why in the world would God include 70 verses of almost unpronounceable names?

Well, determining why or why not God would do something is a dangerous game.  However, we can take away a couple of important principles.  Including these names shows the value and dignity that God gives each individual as they make up the people of God.  In the midst of those thousands, God wanted the individuals and families to be known.  God was working among His people, but He was stirring individuals first.  And we give those names honor and dignity in their reading.

The inverse is true as well.  Yes, we are saved into a personal relationship with Jesus as we cry out in faith for the forgiveness of sin.  That personal relationship is also part of the larger work that God is doing within the church.

But what application should this have for our worship?  Worship removes our anonymity.

No Christian, no child of God, should ever be nameless or faceless in the church.  The church should be the one place that understands that each person is valued.  As any person enters our doors or enters into our communities, they should be treated with dignity, and they should be on the progression of being known and known well – not as a number, but as a person.

Does this mean that larger churches are getting it wrong as they have so many thousands to get to know?  No, reading the book of Acts and seeing the thousands coming to know Christ would argue against that.  However, the church (and especially our worship) should be about each person becoming known as they are known by Christ.  We should reach out across socioeconomic (and pretty much any other lines) to know each other well.  So, big or small, the church’s emphasis must be about bringing people to deeper intimacy with Christ first and then deeper intimacy within the church.

These things must be grounded in a worship of Jesus creating a thankfulness for His work that draws us out of the loneliness and deserts of our lives.  Worship should be an eye to eye experience of the many becoming one in lifting up the name of Jesus.  That should mean that the focus of our worship cannot be about us.  The focus of our worship must be on the name of Jesus as He alone is what unifies us.  No mission, no takeaway, no benefit will ultimately unify us and remove our facelessness.  Jesus alone will give us a true name and a true face.

A lonely person among the people of God should be an oxymoron.

We are known well by Christ as we cry out to Him.  Our worship should be moments where we engage each other in an act of unity, and all the other elements that go into the functions of the church should move people towards deeper relationships under the name of Jesus.

You may ask, “But aren’t there portions of the service that do create isolation and alienation like the Lord’s Supper?”  In our next post in our worship series, we will wrestle with how a worship service can speak to both believers and non-believers without creating an unnecessary alienation for those who don’t believe.

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September 15, 2014 - Posted by | church, church planting, family worship, gospel, men, mission, missional | , , , ,

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