Have you ever been confronted by a person who states that they can worship God better in nature than in a church? They might be right. Jacob put a stone under his head, and upon waking declared that the wilderness was the house of God.
Moses is wandering in the wilderness minding sheep. He walks to a burning bush that is declared by God to be a holy place. This is no church.
During the last moments of Jesus’ crucifixion, the temple curtain (dividing the “normal” temple from the Holy of Holies) was torn in two. The division between earthly and Heavenly is gone.
So, what about our challenger? They might be right. Perhaps they can worship better in God’s Creation. It’s not out of the question as we look at Jacob and Moses. If we are only called to worship God, then the challenger is right. So, where does that leave us? Moving beyond worship.
The Christian life is far more than mere worship (not that it isn’t good and necessary). However, the way of Christ means being transformed into Christ-likeness. As good as worship is, it is only meant to be a piece and not the centerpiece of life of a Christian. When we worship together, in comparison to alone in creation, we also become more of one heart. This allows—over time—us to temper and form one another.
1) Have you ever been tempted to just go it alone in worship? Why? What restored you?
2) If you’ve had a conversation with such a challenger, what was your response?
3) For you, what is the connection between worship and community?