Warrior Friendly Worship

knight-930817_640I’m looking for a warrior friendly worship service. Does anyone else feel that need?

Many churches have seeker friendly services, motivated by a love for those who have yet to know Jesus. It’s good to reduce barriers and make it welcoming for those God is calling to His Son. Church should be a place where we encourage questions and the lost can come as they are, as we all have, to discover Christ’s truth, forgiveness, mercy, and grace that leads to repentance and salvation. Amen?

But, when the people of God meet to worship, it’s a more than a place for seekers. Much more. Church is a gathering of warriors, of poets and priests, of God-explorers, of seed-sowers and harvesters, of kingdom pioneers staking outposts of glory, of the royal family seeking face-time with their father-king. Did you think you were just going to church? Oh no, loved ones, that’s a pale title for a rich and powerful convocation.

Warriors for Christ have spent the week in battle – some from behind closed doors, others behind prison walls or sitting with shattered families or holding vigil hospital bedside or in shelters, on the streets, in the schools, on the mission field, or in their own backyard. Fighting for the lost and broken, doing the work of reconciliation and mediation, sweating out the struggle to stay married, stay faithful, stay clean and sober, stay patient with small children, stay believing, stay sane. These warriors drag their battered souls into the worship assembly parched for the Living Water, famished for the meat of a solid Word from Christ, in need of fortification, strengthening, encouragement, and a repair of their armor. This is what I long to find as I stagger in from the frontlines.

Poets and priests arrive for worship yearning for the beauty of the kingdom to be lifted up. They come craving the stained glass, the banners and candles, the harmonious melodious strains , a taste of the bread, a sip of the wine, an escape into the reality of the mystery and holiness of the Most High God. The poets and priests long for others to share in the wonder they’ve contemplated in the week apart from the rest. They long to say Amen together with the corporate Body of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The singing souls want to hear their part in the great chorus and know the music of the spheres.

The God-explorers have spent the week reading His Word and putting it into practice. They’ve been exploring what it means to love their neighbor, to show hospitality, to be slow to anger, to pray for those who persecute, and to give sacrificially with varying levels of success. They want to hear what other explorers have tried, they want guidance, correction, and encouragement. They want to share the joy of what went well and celebrate the experience of knowing there is still more to discover even when the seekers have found the Living God.

The seed-sowers and harvesters, like hard-working farmers, are hoping for a place of quiet contemplation, of Sabbath rest, of refreshment like water from a deep spring-fed well. They want to know if others have been watching the skies and seeing the same signs. They want to hear what others are doing to tend and protect the tender seedlings peeking through the soil or what methods are most effective for pruning an unruly vine. They are not showy in their worship but they are faithful and watchful week after week after patient, enduring week.

The kingdom pioneers staking outposts for glory arrive for worship with their lungs full of oxygen from beyond the veil. They needpraise-1154566_640 the gathering, the energy of assembly, the glory songs and the revelation of God’s Word proclaimed. They need prayers for their efforts on behalf of the kingdom and confirmation of new territory they’ve noticed where God’s Kingdom needs to come. They need the crowd because they have God’s heart for the crowd to grow and they need to inventory who is still missing. They need the touch base with the seed-sowers and harvesters so their feet continue to touch the ground as they reach their holy hands to the sky. And the crowd needs them because without their vision, we perish.

And all of us, royal-family, children of the High King, who have spent the week knocking our crowns askew, our robes dusty from our common walk, and our manners affected by negative feedback and pressure from those raised outside the kingdom walls, need our memories revived. We need to hear the story of our adoption through Christ into the family of the High King. We need the reminder of how a royal child conducts him or herself even when away from the family. We need to wash our hands and feet in the basin of the servant Christ and remember who we are. We need a refresher of the hope of home, the truth of what awaits us when Jesus returns and we gather at the royal table and step into the realization of our restored glory, of the day when our story is no longer by faith alone but by everlasting sight. We need a weekly family reunion and a reminder of our family name.

So, it’s wonderful that we attempt to be seeker friendly but worship must also be warrior welcoming, poet and priest inspiring, God-explorer affirming, seed-sower and harvester refreshing, kingdom pioneering outposts of glory grounding, and children of the king restorative and revisioning.

This kind of worship cannot be accomplished by a small team of professionals and all the planning on earth. This kind of worship is organic and living and occurs when the Body of Christ gathers knowing the power of congressing in the presence of the Living God knowing who we are in Christ and recognizing that that service isn’t some common event known as church.

No, the act of worship is a fist raised against the brutal foul forces at work in this world. It’s a flare sent up from the outpost. It’s a campfire set in the wilderness. It’s a well in the desert. It’s a family reunion. It’s a vision summit. It’s the bread and the wine and the blood and the risen Christ, our Head, infusing His Spirit throughout the entire body making what has been dispersed over the days one. We do not have to wait for our church leaders to create this kind of worship or for our fellow worshipers to “get it.” This worship doesn’t come in a workshop or a weekend or a movement. This worship is the reality of what is occurring and we just need for God to open our eyes to it this week.

So cry out, loved ones, Open our eyes, Lord. Let us see this gathering as You see it. Let us know the power of our own corporate gathering in Your presence. We remember now. We are not church-goers. We are warriors, poets, priests, God-explorers, seed-sowers, harvesters, pioneers in outposts of glory, and children of the most High King. And this is true on every Sunday as true as it is on Resurrection Easter Sunday.

You see it now, too, don’t you? Take heart, loved ones, it’s almost time to gather again.

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13 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Carla says:

    As ever, Lori, awesome! Our small women’ group is called ‘Warriors through Fire’, so we identify here totally. Inside our little group resides every person mentioned. We are quite literally from all over the world, never meeting most, but when we come together to pray, we are one. This is the mystery of God, that we can know each other through the Spirit and have church, no matter where or when. I pray the ones reading your post today will feel the intent of it and will view their gatherings differently from now on.

  2. Preach it, Lori!
    What to wear to church Easter Sunday? My battle weary carcass will be decked out in my dented breastplate of righteousness, frayed belt of truth, worn gospel shoes, growing shield of faith, and bulletproof helmet of salvation. God is good! Looking forward to worship!

  3. Melanie Gibson says:

    Really wonderful post, Lori – just the sort of thing to encourage a Christian who is beginning to to lose some of the power that she gained in her spirit on Sunday now that it is past the middle of the week. Of course, as you are no doubt aware, today is not just an ordinary Thursday, it is Maundy Thursday and is part of Holy Week. We have a service at my church tonight and as part of the choir I am involved in it, but now instead of thinking that I have to try not to be so focused on the fact that I HAVE to be there, I can relax and see everyone more as members of God’s army.

  4. Lori, this post captivated and excited me more than words can say! It’s the second best thing I’ve read in the past 24 hours. The best thing was the 19th chapter of Revelation.
    I often tell people, “I love my church!” “I love to go to church!” “I love my church family!” Your post articulated WHY! Thank you.

  5. Doris H Campbell says:

    Lori
    You captured us all in this message. Wow! God has gifted you with word-speak and I am awed. I think of the weight we place on our Pastor’s shoulders and how we need to take on some of that weight ourselves.

  6. Karen Anderson says:

    Sad to say, but this is becoming extremely rare, and I long to be part of such a church again… *sigh* … (Wonderful words of wisdom, dear Sister. Thank you!)

  7. Patty Schell says:

    As always, LOVE. Thanks for keeping it real.