Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
Here at The Living Well we are talking about being an “Activated Church.” Last Sunday, we met outside the building—not just because it’s “fun” to do worship outdoors, but also because it’s “fun-damental.” It’s fundamental to our vision of being an everyday church filled with everyday disciples sharing an everyday gospel for the sake of the world around us. It’s impossible to do THAT inside the walls of our building.
We don’t need to be in a building to be the church, and we don’t even need to be in a building to worship. In fact, there’s something about being outside in nature that seems to draw people to the glory of the one who created it all (Psalm 19). Maybe you’ve heard the song, My Church, by Maren Morris:
I don’t need to go to church on Sunday morning to worship God. I connect with god when I’m out in the woods. I connect with God when I’m lying on the beach. I connect with God when I, “put the car in drive, roll the windows down, and turn up the dial” (Maren Morris, My Church).
It’s true, we don’t need to be in a particular building, on a particular day of the week, with particular people in order to worship God. But it’s also true that throughout the scriptures God calls his people to worship him not just as individuals but as a gathered community. In fact, this is one of the main storylines of the Bible. God is rescuing not just persons but a people.
Psalm 95, one of those classic calls to worship, reminds us of this. Take a second to read the first half of the psalm. Did you see it? Five times, “Come, let US…” It’s a call to worship Yahweh TOGETHER.
Something happens when we come together to sing, to listen, to eat, and to be sent out again as a body. I don’t know about you but I feel like I miss out when I miss church on Sunday morning. I love being in a room full of Jesus people belting out ____(insert name of favorite song here)____. In those moments we are getting a little taste of heaven here on earth. It’s like the scene in Revelation 4. When we gather together to worship the living God here on earth, we become active participants in this 24/7 song of heaven. Psalm 95 invites us into this space.
So which is it—what’s the more important function of the church? Is it the gathering of faithful worshippers, or the scattering of faithful witnesses?
Of course, the answer is not “either-or,” it’s “both-and.” This week, as we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, let the Spirit feed your appetite to gather again with God’s people. Sit with them and sit with Him. Celebrate…sing…dance…cry! Let it drive you into the loving arms of our Loving Father. Then, let that same Holy Spirit fill you…move you…ACTIVATE you to be the church wherever God leads you.
Someone said, “Our worship is like the heat that comes from a wood-burning stove; and the fuel for the fire is a true vision of the greatness of God and the wonder of his grace, expressed in Jesus.”
Think of this time as an opportunity to stoke that fire by investing in things that remind you of his greatness and his grace. Walk across the street and ask the neighbor how she’s doing. Ask someone for forgiveness. Have a conversation with your kids about the pain of death and the hope of resurrection. Watch a beautiful movie with your roommate. Call your Share the Life Group leader and tell them something you’ve learned about God in this season.
And then, maybe, go take a walk in the woods.
SONG: Old Church Choir (Zach Williams)
*Today’s devotion was adapted from the May 27, 2020 Thirsty Thursday post
by Matthew Rose, pastor of the Table Church Network in Grand Rapids, MI
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