I have asked this question recently not in the broad sense of reflecting on the overall theology of church but from the narrower parameters of what we do on a Sunday. I have led and preached at many services over the years but the opportunity for the Cartsbridge YF to lead both morning and evening services this weekend has crystallised my thinking. In essence, why do we meet on a Sunday as God's people? Two key answers have developed out of this enquiry...
We gather to encounter God and in doing so we meet each other. We ought to jettison anything that hinders this movement. "Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart..." (Heb. 10 :22) is the clear instruction of Scripture. William Temple (former Archbishop of Canterbury) saw this with remarkable clarity when he wrote:
"Worship is the submission of all our nature to God.
It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness;
the nourishment of the mind with his truth;
the purifying of the imagination by his beauty;
the opening of the heart to his love;
the surrender of the will to his purpose -
and all this is gathered up in adoration,
the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable..."
Flowing naturally out of this meeting with God is the sense in which we are resourced to live for him. The vast majority of life is spent out with the formal structure of church. Therefore, it is of vital importance that, as we encounter God through worship and Bible teaching, we are given resources to life a faithful life in the community where we live, work and play!
I wonder...do we make things too complicated? After all, what takes place on a Sunday is primarily about an encounter with God in worship that leads to our equipping to be disciples of Jesus in the world.