We All Need to Prepare for What’s Coming this Weekend

butterfly-1518060_640Thinking about phoning it in at church this weekend? I’ve done that.

Hey, it’s just a regular worship day. Nothing special happening, right? Lots of people don’t even go to church. Not expecting much to happen. Is anyone? It’s not like it’s revival week or Easter.

There is One who’s expecting something to happen. Every week when His people gather, on whatever day they gather, He arrives with expectation. He has that perspective because He has the view of what’s truly going on.

It’s more than us progressing through the order of worship. If we had His eyes, we’d show up expecting something to happen, too, because something IS happening.

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

But, when the people of God meet to worship, it’s a more than a place for seekers. Much more. On any given day of worship, 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 shatteredknight-778087_640 families. 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 front lines.

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.

peasant-482727_640The 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 need 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 night-675377_640the 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, let us 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 re-visioning.

This kind of worship isn’t planned by professionals. 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, a weekend, or a movement. This worship is the reality of what is occurring and we just need God to open our eyes to it this week.

praise-1154566_640So 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 s true on every regular, ordinary day of worship as it is on Easter and revival week.

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

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6 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Wow!! I’ve sat through many a church service with my heart and mind far away from worship. Sometimes I come hungry for truth, sometimes I come eager to share something God taught me. But I don’t often come with an open heart, expecting God to show up. Seeking and sharing are so important but, on those in-between Sundays, I need to come in joyous expectation.

  2. Yes! YES! Thank you, Lori.
    Let’s do prepare and walk through those doors expectant. Our Father certainly is.

  3. Patricia Heronemus says:

    Once again, you have put into words – powerful words – what many have been seeing, knowing, and wondering about, but have been unable to put into words. Thank you for encouraging and inspiring me today. I will be referring back to this post often!

  4. Joanne says:

    I love this! Thank you!

  5. Melody says:

    We don’t need to create it. I love that. Preparing ourselves and crying out on a daily basis is what we all should seek to do. Just imagine what an awesome Spirit filled service we could have if we took this article to heart. Thank you Lori!!

  6. Cindy Payne says:

    It’ll be hard to allow my mind to wander…