I really want to be careful here, Gentle Reader. The idea in my mind is very simple and straightforward. But wrapping the right words around it… Well, a bit more of a challenge, that.
As you are probably aware, if you visit here often, I explore “Church” a lot. What is it? What did Jesus mean, what DOES He mean and intend for it? What does the word mean, to the institution, to God, to us? This is an exploration that the Lord began with me long ago. Through my youth and early career I could feel, could sense, a deep sense of dissatisfaction, of dissonance, between what “we do” and what the First Century church was. That quest, to understand the difference, began decades ago. Across that time, the Lord has been more than faithful and even I, dull as I am, have come to understand some things about that.
More recently, though… the past few years… I’ve felt particularly challenged to envision this experience we call “Church”, as Jesus intends for us to. To learn (from scripture, reflection, prayer) what Church is and means, and what role that is to play in our lives, and we are to play in the life of Church. You see this more clearly expressed in the phrase of one category of this Blog… “If Jesus Did Church”. There is the critical question…
“If Jesus Christ came to earth to pastor a church for the next 10 years, exactly what would that be like? What would He do? How would that run? What would be its mission? How would that work?”
The questions, the study, the prayer and pondering have led me to a number of different ideas on a vast array of things. But right here I just want to consider the matter of “Worship”.
One of the major “Tasks of the Church” could be considered “To Worship”.
Pretty clear, obvious, self-evident, isn’t it? No problem with that, is there?
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From here, the Lord just posed a few questions to consider. Rather than enter into a long discourse, let me just pose these questions to you, your mind and spirit, and see how you comment and respond.
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“How many times in the New Testament did Jesus instruct, command, order, anyone to worship Him?”
“What DID Jesus instruct, command, order anyone to do regarding relationship or action regarding Him?”
“Which would it seem that The Church should focus on?”
“Which does it seem that YOUR church focuses on?”
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Please feel free to ponder, respond, discuss, comment. We’ll continue tomorrow…
May 20, 2014 at 1:40 PM
Ok. So now my fingers are itching on the keyboard. This one has got to explode soon!! 🙂
May 20, 2014 at 1:55 PM
Lol… explode away! All I’m hearing here are frogs and crickets chirping in the silent distance. Have at it!
May 21, 2014 at 1:51 AM
Did a bit of exploding – and then some! There is a growing synergy and connection going on. Hanging on – or “hanging together”? Something is afoot. I smell God at work. 🙂
May 21, 2014 at 1:26 PM
I am new to your blog and I have pondered your questions, read the Bible and pondered some more.
I am wondering if the answer to your first question is that Jesus did not instruct, command, order anyone to worship him. In John’s gospel when Jesus prays for himself in the garden of Gethsemane he asks: “Father…Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you”. When we think of the horror and the suffering on the cross which he was about to face, it isn’t the kind of glory that any of us would relish.
The answers to your second question are connected to the first. Jesus asks us to “Follow him”; to leave other things in which we might take comfort to follow him; he asks his followers to take up their own cross; when he reinstates Peter he asks him to “feed my lambs”; Jesus asks us to abide in him as he abides in the Father; Jesus asks us to love each other as he has loved us.There is inter-connectness with the Father, with him, with the Comforter, with each other.
The answer to question three: I am not sure if I have deviated from the theme of worship. However my impression is Jesus always points from himself to the Father with regards worship; even though he also points out how closely he abides with the Father.
Question number four: My Church. There is no perfect Church and the story of my Church is a long story. It was my eldest sister who first pointed out to me that there is light and dark within each of us as there is light and dark within our institutions including Church. I was upset recently with an action of our Church, and yet it led me to lead a small group in which I found faithfulness, love for each other and love for the community in which we are placed.
Hope I haven’t gone on too long. You set me thinking.
May 21, 2014 at 1:39 PM
WOW! THANK YOU! You definitely have NOT “gone on too long”. You’ve done just what I hoped someone would do, pray through this and open the discussion.
I’m actually writing now on the “conclusion” of this thought on worship, and you have it precisely correct! Thank you for posting this comment so I didn’t have to give it up and write out the answer myself. YES. Jesus never, ever, throughout the entirety of the Gospels, commands anyone to worship Him. He always directs worship to the Father… and yes, it is well to note that He affirms His own identity with that of the Father.
Nonetheless, the identity can be one, and yet the relationships be different. Here is the essence of the meaning of “Three Persons”… One Identity, Different Relationships or… Points of Relationship.
Your answer to Question Two is right on as well. Yes, He says many things… Follow Me among the most intense. Also love as I love. Share the Good News. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out the demons. Teach others as I have taught you, immersing them in the love of the Father, forgiveness of the Son, presence of the Holy Spirit. He commanded plenty… it’s just that to worship Him is not one of them.
The church observation that came from putting these two facts next to each other, was simply that we institutionally tend to focus so intently on the first task (to worship Jesus, which He never said to do), that we nearly exclude the second (to do as He does, enter into Him and thus into the Father), to speak as He (and the Father) speak, work as He (and the Father) work. Etc.
I could go on…. but I’d repeat myself with the post I’m working on. So I’ll stop here and again…
Simply thank you so much for putting this down. I’m so pleased that you could get this just from the questions themselves. Yay!
Blessings and Grace to thee, Julia… and all yours as well… The Little Monk
May 21, 2014 at 3:06 PM
Thank you. I am pleased that you are pleased and that we are on a similar spiritual wave length. I enjoyed researching and thinking about it. Jullia