sunday gatherings as “worship”

I’ve made it known I believe we should rethink what we do in our Sunday gatherings, and even what we call them.  I’m afraid we’ve done a great disservice to actual worship by referring to what we do on Sunday mornings as just that — “worship.”  Here are a few of my scattered thoughts on Sunday gatherings.  For my just as scattered definition of worship, see this.

Sunday gathering is an opportunity for believers to bring our lives of worship and obedience and lay them before God.  We come together to celebrate what God has been doing in us, and in our community through us.  And we encourage one another in this process of worship and obedience.  Spiritual gifts are used to build up one another and, more importantly, the body as a whole.

I’m afraid we’ve made worship about songs and sermons.  The Old Testament prophets speak to us, yet we refuse to listen.  God desires for us to know him, enjoy him, love him, and be obedient to him.  He desires for worship to penetrate the very core of our lives, and change who we are — so that we live more and more in keeping with his desires.

We waste a lot of time measuring our Sunday gatherings, in order to assess how “good” they are.  The unfortunate truth is that a Sunday gathering can only be as “good” as are the sacrifices of those in attendance.  Have I brought before God the fruits of worship, a changed and obedient life?  Or have I once again laid before him a blatant disregard for his commandments and wishes?

I believe Sunday gatherings are primarily for Christians — not for visitors and/or proselytizing.  We should be using the gifts given us by the Spirit to encourage one another, build up the body of Christ into maturity. Our time together has become about evangelism and “seeker-friendliness” because of our stubborn refusal to be Christ’s representatives in our communities, and to live every day as citizens of God’s kingdom.  If we’re not willing to live glaringly spiritual lives in front of non-Christians, what we’re left with is to invite them to a Sunday assembly of the “saints.”

I view Sunday as the last day of my week.  My reasoning is that I have lived an obedient life of worship throughout my week, and on Sunday I’m able to bring and lay before God in worship the sacrifice of my own life .  I don’t see Sunday as my “day of worship,” but rather it is the day I celebrate with my family my past week of worship.  I do worship God on Sundays, but I would suggest no more than on other days of the week.  But Sunday is a tool for bringing greater worship in every other day of my life, as I’m encouraged and held accountable by other believers, so that I can worship God by obediently living Christ into the community for another week.  

What are your thoughts on Sunday gatherings?

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “sunday gatherings as “worship”

  1. randy morgan

    well said, brett!

    i love the idea of a name change…who should i talk to about that? another misnomer is “church service.”

    while i agree that the sunday gathering is “primarily for christians,” i love the idea of unbelievers visiting our meetings and seeing the gifts of the spirit in operation, and the body of christ functioning as it was intended (john 13:35). too, i continue to entertain the fantasy of having a pre-christian someday sit in one of my meetings and proclaim, “god is really among you!” (1 corinthians 14:25)

  2. Ike

    Both Cain and Abel worshiped the Lord. Both brought Him offerings. But the Lord rejected Cain’s worship and accepted Abel’s. Why?

    Not because Abel’s was a blood-offering while Cain’s was “of the fruit of the ground.” The law authorized grain offerings (e.g., Leviticus 2).

    Hebrews 11:4 tells us that Abel’s worship was acceptable to God because it was “by faith.” And “whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Acceptable worship throbs with a heart-conviction that God is real and rewarding.

    Cain did not worship God with the psychology of faith. His gift was safe: “Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground” (Genesis 4:3). He worshiped God out of his income from past labors.

    Abel worshiped God with the psychology of faith. His gift was risky: “Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions” (Genesis 4:4). He gave to the Lord from his breeding stock and from their best parts. He worshiped God out of his chances for the future, out of his capital.

    When God rejected Cain’s worship, he took his anger out on his brother. Murder in the cathedral (T. S. Eliot). The beginning of the divide between the true and false people of God who otherwise mingle together.

    It is good to run from safe, no-risk worship. It is good to worship God with a practical demonstration that He alone is the future our hearts will be happy with.

    “Let us offer to God acceptable worship” (Hebrews 12:28).

  3. Pingback: our values: the gathering « your best life later

  4. Pingback: healings on the sabbath and attendance on sundays « aliens and strangers

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