In last month’s article I wrote of “Oneness in Worship,” referencing 1 Corinthians 14:26 in which Paul summarizes what should be done when we gather.
His point was clear: “Let all things be done for building up.” Throughout the chapter, Paul speaks of how they were to use prophecy and tongues … were they being used to build up and create unity, or were these things being used to create division? Perhaps our own prophecies of what we want Providence to be, or our patterns of speech about how it is to happen, can be stumbling blocks for us as well – much like they were to the church at Corinth.
Let me draw two parallels by using examples from
Processions: When we enter the church together, our steps must be in sync or we could very well cause one another to fall. This is not to say we all walk the same way; indeed there are many gaits that define our steps, but we are all walking towards the same place. If a choir member decided to take a different path, our goal of getting there together would be impossible. Is it not the same with the church? We do not always have to think (step) the same way – our unity is actually strengthened by our diversity – but our desire to “build up” must overshadow our individual desires to walk our own way.
Rehearsals: This is a big deal! If the choir does not rehearse – they will never sing to their fullest – employing those talents given to them by God to use in worship. But, when they do rehearse, they are together. They create harmony and correct dissonance. They work together to present and perfect something that they could never accomplish individually! This parallel to the church is pretty easy to see.
Worship is our
rehearsal for life.
In order to fully actualize this – we must be together! In the Apostolic Constitutions, an ancient document from around the year 380 AD, the bishop exhorts the people to “… assemble continually and not diminish the Church by absenting themselves and making the Body of Christ lack a member.”
In other words, when we are out of church, we become out of sync with one another. How can we then expect to create concord (harmony) or to help one another in our differences (dissonance) if we do not gather to rehearse such things? Worship shapes our poor notes and sends us into the world to sing God’s melody!
When we continually build one another up in love, the unity that we seek becomes an act of worship, one of which we can sing:
In unity we lift our song of grateful adoration,
for brothers brave and sisters strong.
What cause for celebration!
For those whose faithfulness has kept us through distress,
who’ve shared with us our plight,
who’ve helped us in the night,
the blessed congregation.
Peace be with you.