As I think about worship and how Christians meet together, I continue to find books that back up what the Spirit is teaching me and how we meet at The Salvation Army Berry Street. I found these two books visiting a used bookstore yesterday.
God calls His people to meet together so that they can practice and develop the lifestyle of following the living, resurrected Jesus Christ. Church (ekklesia) is an arena for spiritual interaction and ministry to one another.
“It is through the genuine community of the church that Christians can tell their stories, celebrate their life and hope, and acknowledge their tragedies.” –Rodney Clapp, A Peculiar People.
“Church is a gathering around the person of Jesus Christ and a living in His Spirit . . . It demands that there be some real sharing of life together, namely, that we pray together; the we celebrate our rites of passage together; that we celebrate some of our everyday joys, fears, and feasts together; that we are responsible to each other and open to each other as regards mutual correction and challenge; that we are responsible together for the ministry of the church.” –Ronald Rolheiser, The Holy Longing.
The Bible is like sheet music. Someone can give a lecture on a piece of sheet music, but that falls far short of the purpose of sheet music. The purpose of sheet music is to be performed by a band and/or a choir. The Bible was not given to us to be the subject of continual lectures. It was given to us to be performed — to be lived out (incarnated) by a group of people.
Power to the people! Christ’s Presence and power should not be set aside and ignored, but released through ordinary people as they show and tell what Jesus has done! A worship meeting that is set up for one man to run it and control it, while everybody else is required to passively sit and silently listen, falls short of the New Testament concept of the body of Christ! It misses the mark of 1 Corinthians 14:26.
“Far from being an opportunity for people to wrestle with the principalities and powers–to wage the war of the Lamb–worship was decided never to be controversial, always to be comfortable and sentimental. Christians were taught that worship was preeminently their opportunity to be ‘fed.’ But it was rarely recognized that to be fed is to be infantilized. To say I go to church to be fed is the same as saying, ‘I go to church so I can act like a baby.'” –Rodney Clapp in A Peculiar People.