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Sunday Worship

April 19, 2011

I just completed reading David VanDrunen’s Living in God’s Two Kingdoms: A Biblical Vision for Christianity and Culture, and for anyone who is at all interested in how to live out their Christian lives in the world, I strongly recommend this book. It is a relatively modest read and VanDrunen makes some powerful points in very readable language. Besides his absolutely fascinating articulation of the major plotline of Scripture as viewed through the failure of the first Adam and the triumph of the last Adam (Christ), it makes some very helpful statements about politics, education, vocation, and church life. It is his take on the church that I most want to comment on. For those of us who attend church or called to the ministry how often do we consider what is actually happening on Sunday mornings in our worship services? Is it simply something we do to get recharged for the rest of the week? Is it a Christian duty that we perform out of religious obligation? Is it something we do to make someone else happy? Is it limited to something the “church” does for us in performing some songs and preaching a sermon?

Consider a few of VanDrunen’s statements:

“Scripture’s special concern, however, is with corporate worship, in the gathered assembly of the saints… Hebrews warns believers about ‘neglecting to meet together’ and later commands us to worship God ‘with reverence and awe,’ since our worship brings us into fellowship with the worship of the heavenly Jerusalem… Corporate worship on earth is the richest foretaste of worship in heaven (emphasis mine)”

“Some people today, with pious intentions, assert that all of life should be worship to God. It is true, of course, that God calls us to glorify him all that we do, and he is pleased when we undertake any task righteously, but Scripture also speaks of a special activity that is more properly deemed ‘worship.’ Such worship consists essentially in God’s speaking to us (through the reading and preaching of his Word and the administration of sacraments as his visible word) and his people speaking back to him (through prayer and song).”

Think about that for a moment (or many for that matter) – when we gather we are transported by faith into the worship occuring in the heavenlies and we enter into a conversation with God in which he speaks to us grace and mercy and we respond back to him with adoration and praise. Sunday worship is no small matter, and certainly is not merely some-thing we Christians do on Sundays for the sake of doing it!

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” Hebrews 12:22-24 ESV

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