Worship of Jesus isn’t a service we attend, it’s a position we take in the universe.

The Body of Christ suffers in these times.

The suffering isn’t fatal. We aren’t at risk of irreparable harm, because we belong to Jesus. Because of Him, the suffering will be used for our good and for His glory.

Still, we are besieged from without and within. Division, attack, disbelief, falling away, conflict, prohibitions from gathering, fear of gathering, and disagreement about gathering all tear at the church on a cellular level.

And yet, we will not fear, for God is with us. He is the Head of this body and He has seen times just like this.

Our call is not to fear, nor to sort wheat from tares. Our call is to worship. Whether we gather within sanctuaries or virtually, He works in our midst and the wise trust this.

When the people of God worship, there is always more at work than we can see. Much more. When we focus only on the seen – the size or situation of our service, the eloquence of the preacher, the absence loved ones, or the performance of the musicians – we miss the greater gathering.

Did you think you were just going to church? That’s a pale title for our rich and powerful convocation. Church is an assembly of kingdom 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 facetime with their father-king.

Kingdom warriors have spent the week in battle – some from behind closed doors, others behind prison walls, sitting with shattered families, or holding vigil hospital bedside, 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.

We warriors drag our battered souls into worship 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 our armor. This is what we long to find as we stagger in from the frontlines.

Poets and priests arrive yearning for the beauty of the kingdom lifted high. We 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.

We poets and priests long for others to share in the same wonder we’ve contemplated in the week apart. We long to say Amen with the Body whole. Our souls desire to hear our part in the great chorus and know the music of the spheres.

The God-explorers spent the week reading His Word and putting it into practice. We’ve been living what it means to love their neighbor, show hospitality, advocate for justice, be slow to anger, pray for those who persecute, and give sacrificially with varying levels of success.

We want to hear what other explorers have tried. We want guidance, correction, and encouragement. We 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 contemplation, of Sabbath rest, of refreshment like water from a deep spring-fed well. We want to know if others have been watching the skies and seeing the same signs. We 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 branch. We are not showy in our worship, but we are faithful and watchful week after week after patient, enduring week.

The kingdom pioneers staking outposts for glory arrive for worship with our lungs full of oxygen from beyond the veil. We need the gathering, the energy of assembly, the glory songs, and the revelation of God’s Word proclaimed.

We need prayers for our efforts on behalf of the kingdom and confirmation of new territory we’ve noticed where God’s Kingdom needs to come. We need the crowd because we have God’s heart for the crowd to grow and we inventory who is still missing. We need the touch-base with the seed-sowers and harvesters, so our feet remain planted on the earth as we reach holy hands to the sky. And the crowd needs us because without our vision, they 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 treading a common path, and our manners affected by our old nature 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.

A renewal of the truth of what awaits us when Jesus returns, 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.

We don’t have to wait for leaders to create this kind of worship or for our fellow worshipers to “get it,” or for government to permit it to occur. This worship doesn’t come in a workshop or a weekend or a movement. This worship cannot be contained within walls nor can it be thwarted by forced isolation. This worship is the reality of what is occurring, and we just need for God to open our eyes to it now.

Worship of Jesus isn’t a service we attend, it’s a position we take in the universe. 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. 

So, cry out, Open our eyes, LordLet us see this gathering as You see itLet us know the power of our own corporate devotion in Your presence. Let us see the army that surrounds us when “two or three are gathered.” (Mt 18:20)

We remember now. We are not church-goers or pew-warmers. We are not victims of a virus or of politicians or of beleaguered pastors. We are kingdom warriors, poets, priests, God-explorers, seed-sowers, harvesters, pioneers in outposts of glory, and children of the most, High King. And this is as true on an ordinary worship day as it was on the day of Resurrection.

With enlightened hearts, we will be fearless because we gather – whether in person or in spirit – as one in Christ.

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6 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Rob McCullough says:

    Thanks for the reminder Lori that we are all different but we have a common belief and goal. This really blessed me a lot.

  2. Naomi says:

    I needed to hear this shout of victory today! May our Father continue to bless your writing.

  3. carla femat says:

    Amen. I’m so blessed to be back at my church and worshipping together with other warriors. Thanks Lori!

  4. Marcy Heffinger says:

    Thank you Precious Sister! With much love!

  5. Terry & Patricia Lampel says:

    Thank you so much Lori… well-said!