Coming together for worship is central to the life of a congregation. The way we live as Christians cannot be in spiritual isolation and autonomous independence. As those in Christ we come together in the fellowship of God. One of the practical expressions of that fellowship with God is our fellowship with one another. The first place we learn to love the unseen God is in the persons of our sisters and brothers. We meet because we have an expectation that we will encounter God in a transforming way through our gatherings.
In an entertainment-oriented culture too often Christian worship has become another show put on by professionals for an audience that evaluates the experience in terms of enjoyment. The worship was “good” often means that one found it satisfying on a personal level. The music was good, the setting comfortable and appealing, and the speaker engaging.
However, the worship described in scripture is not always enjoyable. Worship is not always joyful. As Isaiah experienced when confronting his own sinfulness in the light of the glory of God (Isaiah 6), worship can be terrifying.
If we seek a transforming encounter with God, then worship is much more than pleasing entertainment. The whole range of our experience, including doubts, fears, belief, love, hate, sin, temptation, redemption, forgiveness, and much more needs to be expressed. In response, we find from God a grace that transforms us by reorienting us to our proper place as the sheep of his flock; the creatures of the Creator. The enjoyment of worship is not our goal, though it may sometimes be the satisfaction we find when we are seeking to be changed and by grace we actually are. Our goal in worship is to continue to become more like Jesus.
In our worship together, Christ is central. We experience Christ in Holy Communion and in the proclamation of the word of God. Christ is the Bread of Heaven and Word of God. In prayers, readings, songs, breaking bread, fellowship, preaching, and teaching we are seeking Christ when we come together. We try to honestly and humbly ask for God to live among us, to teach us, and help us to live as strangers and sojourners who are citizens of his Kingdom. Whatever we do must be an attempt to come again to God as we come together in worship.