Missing Something Big

During the pandemic of 2020 we're all missing things. I remember when I heard that the country might shut down through Easter.  I just sort of laughed. "There is no way that we're not going to have Easter services," spoken like a true Evangelical Pastor. Then it happened. We're shutting down until at least May 15th.

Our concern went from not holding services for a week or two, to learning how to do worship gatherings in a different way for a much longer period of time. Providentially, The Town has been prepared for this moment as we have been broadcasting live worship gatherings for a decade. We're still working on things each day and I think that God is using this time away from a corporate worship gathering to teach us something. Maybe, we could even ask a few introspective questions. First, what do we actually miss about our large worship gatherings? I think the answer to that question is inextricably bound to the second question, "Who are we worshipping?"

If all you miss is a production or  a sensory experience, then you're worshipping the wrong thing or person. It's not wrong to like those experiences or look forward to them, but if it's the main source of frustration, we have a problem. If you can't worship in a tin can, we have a worship problem. Jesus doesn't need the lights and production, he desires your heart, your faith, your trust - you're very life.

The church all over the developed world has spent billions of dollars on production value. Lights. Cameras. Action. The philosophy goes something like this - out produce the worldly venues and people will come to church. Most studies show that that it doesn't work. A lot of production centered churches grow because they suck the life out of smaller churches who can't afford the Disney experience.

So what should we be missing? Incarnational ministry (being present). The Sacraments. Fellowship. We should be missing the corporate gathering because God has called His people together in His presence. Sunday worship is a small picture of the bigger party that is coming when Jesus comes to restore all things and make all things new. Sunday worship is where we enjoy the spiritual presence of Jesus Christ in the sacraments which can only happen in person. Sunday worship is a gathering of saints together in one place to look into each other's eyes, to share the sound of singing praises, to hear one another's prayers, and to hold Christ in common together in an incarnational way.

God could have saved His people from His throne on high in heaven if that is what He desired to do. But instead, He became one of us and experienced everything we experienced. His love was in the incarnation of Christ. When we come together, our worship reflects God's incarnational love.

When we can't come to worship together on Sundays we should be missing the soul to soul experience of being in one another's presence and in the presence of God - together. Maybe after all of this is over, there just might be a revival of Gospel-centered ministry. I hope and pray that churches aren't planning the biggest concert their community ever did see upon the return of large group gatherings. Our communities need and are looking for something better that answers the bigger questions in life. We don't need to feel better, we need to become whole. That wholeness is only possible through saving faith in Jesus Christ. My prayer is that the church is returning to the way of the Cross - calling sinners to sainthood and broken people to be whole again in Christ.  

Let the guitars ring out, and the lights illuminate the stage so long as they aren't louder or brighter than the true object of our worship - the Lord Jesus Christ. 
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