Reflection: Communal Worship

“…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19-20

During the Wednesday evening services, this summer we have been putting our focus on the idea of being grateful and how being grateful can transform the world. We started with the concept of personal gratefulness and eventually ended up with corporate or communal gratefulness, and that is what Paul is reminding us in this passage, that we are to be grateful at all times but especially in worship.

Paul is concerned that the end is near and so he is reminding his readers to be about the work of Jesus Christ here on earth, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting those sick and those in prison, and, loving everyone. He is reminding them that they need to do the work for the people as well as the worship of God.

Starting in verse 19 we see the importance of corporate worship and the idea that we cannot worship God alone we need the community of believers. Our worship does not come from some notion of artificial frenzy, but it comes from the Holy Spirit, “…be filled with the Spirit,” “Sing and make music from your heart.” Worship is at the core of what we do as Christians, we are to love others, but we are to first love God with all that we have. God wants our all not just the parts we are willing to share, and we are to do this as a community.

Worship centers us and reinvigorates us, at least it supposed to, for the work of Christ in the world. Worship depends on the connection that we have to the body of Christ and that we are connected to each other, and the worship experience enriches those connections.

“…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We are to always give thanks to God for all of the blessings in our lives, I know it is hard sometimes to see them, but they are there we need to look for them. This idea of always being grateful requires a sense of radical openness to our existence and the existence of others and God.

Having an attitude of gratefulness as well as an attitude of thanksgiving not only in worship but our lives outside of worship, keeps us pointed towards God and will keep our feet planted firmly on the ground.

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