Outside Praise

Psalm 84:8-12, James 2:14–26, Romans 12:1–8

Depending on your preferred translation of the Scriptures, Psalm 84:10 may or may not speak about standing at the threshold of God. In a previous devotion, we connected this to our Welcome Team, as those who were the transition between the outside and the inside of the building. Doorkeepers were security, and they could also be welcomers and announcers (of who enters). However, sometimes the person “at the door” never enters the actual House of God to worship.

From a symbolic standpoint, some people are at “church”, but didn’t enter into the courts of/to worship. They may sing the songs and they may listen to the message, but they may never worship. What people “do” in church does impact their ability to worship. The “do” is important. In older church traditions (now often called “high church”), the gathered body participated in the liturgy. Nowadays, we have this particular concept of “liturgy,” and it’s incomplete. The origin definition of liturgy is “work of the people.” Now liturgy has been siloed to a specific form of worship (even while every church has a liturgy, by definition).

The concept of “work of the people” is also often lost. When you worship with song or by listening to the sermon, you are doing “the work” of the church. However, the work of the church is not just worship and listening and learning. The work of the church is also doing the mission. In fact, the true work of the church (i.e., true liturgy) is only complete when it includes what happens outside the walls.

Perhaps, a better way of thinking of the courts of praise is to turn the church inside out; what was once the outside is now the courts of praise.

1) How would thinking of the world outside of the church as the courts of praise affect how you entered and interacted with the world?

2) How could worship be outside of the church, especially as the world appears to be less positive toward Christianity?

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