At the Center of Worship
Many people likely found themselves in their usual place this past Sunday, also known as the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10). That place was their local congregation for weekly worship together with others of like faith. What was the primary reason for being there? If you found yourself in company with fellow worshipers, did you go for the stirring message from the pulpit or was it the uplifting renditions of “Old Rugged Cross” and “Love Lifted Me”? Recent experiences I’ve observed with generous community members might indicate their attendance was to ensure ability to “lay by in store as you have been prospered” (1 Corinthians 16:2).
Could there be another reason you attended worship services last week? Did you commune with the Heavenly Father through prayer? Or maybe you communed during observance of Jesus’ own memorial institution (Matthew 26:26-29; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)? What was it that brought you to worship? Permit me to ask you another question… What is it that makes you who and what you are? What is the one singular event in history that changed life for penitent sinners? That would be the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ in accordance with the scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) Paul spoke of our actions when we participate in this memorial as “Proclaiming His death until He comes”. (1 Corinthians 11:26) Why would we want to proclaim the death of Jesus? Because of what it does! The death of Jesus is the atonement (payment) for the sins of the world. We sinned and He paid!
Let me pose another question to you. If you had limited time for worship for but one practice, which would you consider the most important. Which would bring greatest awareness of God and His love for mankind? I don’t wish to belittle any expressions of faith but rather accentuate the one that is the very foundation of who and what we are. In Acts chapter 20, the apostle Paul and his co-laborers in the Gospel find themselves in Troas, where they stay seven days. Verse 7 tells us that “on the first day of the week” they “gathered to break bread”. It is here we see the when and the why of assembling of first century Christians. By all means let us pray when we come together… By all means let us give of our means when we come together… By all means let us encourage, teach and admonish one another in song when we come together… By all means let us proclaim God’s word as we gather together… But let us never neglect so great a remembrance as the memorial of Christ’s body and blood, as we gather together, the very essence of whose we are!
Copyright © 2010, Nolan P. Rutter