We’re Having a Party

It’s not that I think everyone should worship like a Pentecostal (Hi, Beth!), but I wonder if people who seem to be going through the motions and slamming shut their hymnals as the last amen is still resounding remember the astonishing facts of Christianity.  Even if I didn’t understand that God came to earth as a man, took the punishment for my sin, and reconciled me to Himself, Jesus’ resurrection alone would still be enough to have a party about.  Right?  I mean, deep reverential awe would be good too…

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6 thoughts on “We’re Having a Party

  1. Anita says:

    I’ve had going-thru-the-motions days. Sometimes I’ll become aware of it even as I’m doing it, but the awareness doesn’t really help. It makes me feel a little guilty, but it doesn’t really make me feel like jumping up and down, you know? Here’s something to think about: am I sinning when I am going through the motions? Is that a sin? I’m thinking it probably falls under the first commandment…

    • sara says:

      I’m not sure if it’s sin – I think it COULD be. Certainly if you never question it, it is terribly sad. And if an entire church is going through the motions? What does that mean?

      I understand giving worship even when you don’t “feel it.” I understand a sacrifice of praise. You know that I don’t value emotions above truth, but the truth is wonderful, no? And joy-inspiring? It makes me sad when I forget, lose focus, when the greatness of my risen Savior becomes mere words. And that DOES happen.

      This is what I think: “I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” Rev. 2:3-5

  2. Anita says:

    When I am going through the motions, it is generally because I am distracted; something is on my mind. The first commandment forbids that I put any thing else before the Lord, so in that sense, going through the motions truly is a transgression against the first commandment. Could be a third commandment issue as well as we are to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy by eagerly hearing God’s word and inwardly digesting it.

    I can’t go as far as saying that all non-demonstrative worship is a sin. Just because I’m not emoting doesn’t mean I don’t love the Lord. And even IF I am demonstrating joy during worship, I STILL do not love the Lord as I ought to. My worship is always poor and imperfect whether I am outwardly demonstrating it or not.

    On the other hand, if an entire church appears (and I say appears because I’m not certain that you or I are capable of truly knowing that) to be going through the motions, looking joyless, unenthused, etc., I’d have to wonder if it is indeed “church”. Is the Gospel being preached? Are the Sacraments being administered? Where we have these things we have “church” and the Spirit is present, and where the Spirit is present, the fruits of the Spirit (one being joy) will manifest. So, yes, if there is an absolute absence of joy it’s probably safe to assume that what we are seeing is not “church” (ie. the saints gathered around Word and Sacrament). If this is the case, we’ve got bigger issues than simply an apparent lack of joy. The real issue is the lack of Gospel.

    Here’s a question: What was it the *love of* that the Ephesians abandoned? I have an idea, but I wonder what your thoughts are…

    • sara says:

      hmm. Well, I originally was thinking that they had lost the joy of their salvation, but perhaps they forgot how well they were loved. As in, not that we first loved God, but that He loved us. Maybe that amounts to the same thing.

      They were still zealous for truth and right doctrine and were discerning, but somehow lacked love…?

      Now I need to know… what are your ideas?

  3. Anita says:

    We are on the same page I think. They have abandoned – not *lost*, but rather *given up* – their love for something. Could it be their love for God? Maybe…but I don’t think so. I don’t think they would care about persevering for something they no longer loved. They are persevering in faith, they are remaining steadfast to the truth and rejecting false teaching. They are enduring patiently, bearing up, not growing weary – and this, I assume refers to waiting for the coming of the Lord, which they thought to be imminent.

    I think John is referring to something that Jesus warned would happen in the end times, that some would lose our love for neighbour. Towards the end of Matthew, Jesus describes how in the chaos and persecution of the end times that “love would grow cold”, even as they remained on guard for false teachers, etc.

    I imagine them as a pious bunch, with a high level of concern for personal holiness (and a genuine concern, I might add, not trying to imply that it was self-serving) but sadly this has replaced their first love, their love for neighbour. That love, of course, springs from God first loving us. “We love because He first loved us.”

    In my study Bible, these passages in Rev. 2 are cross-referenced with 1 John 3 and Matthew 24, and that’s where my mind went with it. Also, I had Ken look up the Greek for love in the passage and it is agape, so that was a clue as well. That’s my take on it, for what it’s worth…

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