In my previous post on “Something’s Happening Here”, we looked at the fact that during gathered (in-person) worship in music, we declare God’s worth, character, truths, and the Gospel to ourselves, one another and unbelieving attendees (visitors.)
This time, we’re briefly looking at the reality that during gathered worship, we commune relationally with God in His Presence. This is not to say that we “call down” or “conjure” His presence, or that our relational communion only happens in a gathering. But we must recognize that we gather in God’s presence when we are gathered as the church. We are not merely coming for information or life tips or as a social club or to be entertained – we are coming to meet each other… and the God of the universe.
Unlike Hindus or Buddhists or Muslims, when we gather to worship Christ, we do so knowing we are worshipping a relational God.
The God of the Scriptures has always revealed Himself to be so.
A few examples from Scripture:
- He spoke and ‘walked’ with Adam and Eve.
- He met with and spoke to, the Patriarchs.
- When He brought His people out of Egypt and made them a nation, He referred to their interactions as a covenantal marriage.
- His promises through the Prophets were that one day again He would dwell with His people directly.
- He became incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth and dwelt among us.
- Jesus spoke of a coming day when God would dwell with His creation in a place without suffering or pain or death; that they would forever be with Him.
- Before His return to glory, He told His believers He would be with them to the very end of the age, and that wherever 2 or 3 were gathered in His name, He is there among them. (And I reject the notion that he was only referring to church discipline)
- He sent His Holy Spirit to indwell His believers.
- We’re told by John that we are dearly loved children of our Heavenly Father – relational language indeed!
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 (emphasis mine)
Some have said that in our church worship times, we pray to God and sing to God, but He is not specially present with us in our worship gatherings. Honestly, that sounds more akin to the god of the prophets of Ba’al. (1 Kings 18:26-27)
Not only does this run counter to the truth of God’s omnipresence, but in fact with 1 Corinthians 14:25. How can God “really be among you” if we say He isn’t in attendance? Further, this passage is in the context of the gathered church for worship.
Our gathered times of worship acknowledge God’s worth, character, truths, and the Gospel with each other in a relational setting in God’s presence.
So how then do we approach Him in our times of worship?
How he told us… as He has commanded.
- With exceedingly joyful, loud celebration
- With silent awe and wonder
- Boldly, yet with holy fear
- In seriousness
- With confidence
- As children loved by a Father
- Pouring out our hearts before Him
Zeph 3:17 tells us (in the original Hebrew) He is a God who sings loudly and dances over his people.
He is not an aloof, distant monarch, and He is not your homeboy.
He is the holy and living God who delights to dwell with His people, and that includes meeting with them as they gather as a family, as His children when they worship Him.