Back for the second post, a continuation in the Church posts intensive.
In the previous post, we talked allllllllll about how we have somehow and someway started calling a steel- and- brick made building, “church.” And how we have somehow and someway started calling the two-hour planned event on a Sunday morning, “church.”
We have it so wrong. Hear it from my words in the first post.
“Christ’s bride is the Church.
The entirety of unrelenting and powerfully magnificent, divine Love is on His church, for His church.
The reason of Christ’s death is His Church.
The beautiful redemption, scarlet red to a pure, pure white was won for His church.
The Kingdom of Heaven itself, the Kingdom of Faithful and True, is His Church’s Home.
Christ adores His church in every way One can be adored.
And we dare to call a steel and concrete building the “church.” And we dare to call a two-hour event planned by human effort the “church”.
WE are the Church. You. And me. And Paul. And your pastor. And the students in youth group. And the old ladies and old men. And people who lived twelve centuries ago. And even, the very first disciples. And, people in the next generation.
We are the Church. Past Jesus-lovers, present, and yes, future.
And we, the Church of today, gather about once a week in a community.
So now may tackle this next beast:
When I first started going to church, I just did what we were supposed to do- went through the motions. No one ever told me why we do what we do, and because I didn’t understand WHY we do things, I didn’t really care about them. I just did them.
Oh, dear friend, please don’t turn a blind right now. Don’t assume this isn’t you.
Because this is 100% me.
I used to think that worship was just blindly singing words on a screen.
I used to think that prayer was more or less a template, the same words every time.
I used to think that the sermon was just a little encouragement to get me through the week.
Examine your heart. Is this you?
Because our sweet Jesus did not bleed and die on an old, wooden cross for me to sing empty words about the greatest miracle that has ever touched humanity.
Because our sweet Jesus did not victoriously raise from the freaking grave, over death itself, for me to repeat void words once a week, emotionless, all in His name.
Because my sweet Jesus did not send His precious Spirit through a generation of devoted men and inspired them to document and write about the most wonderful, most mysterious, most Life-giving words that pierce our hearts just for me to listen with a hard heart and think it’s a motivational speech.
No, my friend, our Beloved is bursting with the deepest, most bright and vivid and piercing colors.
And somehow, every Sunday, it felt like grey.
What we do at our gatherings as believers has gotten so watered own in our own hearts that I tremble with fear our future of them here in America.
May we pray and fast for an honor and devotion and understanding of sacredness that only the Spirit can bear in our hearts.
I must make this clear: I worship God, in my heart, at every single moment of the day. Or, I hope to. Pray to. Worship starts in our hearts….. it’s a state of overflowing thankfulness and praise and adoration.
I can be thankful and praise and adore God when I am walking my dog, when I am brushing my teeth, when I am at work, when I am watching TV, or when I’m singing.
Worship is a beautiful state of my heart….. and sometimes, our thankfulness and praises are just too much to hold inside, so we sing. So we sing songs of His great grace and splendor and of the cross and of His love.
During the worship that we experience at our gatherings, when we have the words of songs up on the screens, when we play instruments to melodies, and sing the words…….
May we not just sing empty words.
But may we intentionally quiet our hearts and posture them in a stillness of understanding the great depth of what those words are.
One popular song…. “Holy Spirit, come.” We sing it weekend after weekend, yet have we ever stepped back to understand what we are actually saying? What we are actually praying?
Holy Spirit…. The Holy Spirit of GOD….. the Spirit that Jesus freely gives…. The Spirit that hovered over the waters before creation…. The Spirit that dwells in our hearts, that is the catalyst of Kingdom come….
We are speaking words with more depth than the oceans themselves, yet our minds and hearts are barely present.
Jesus said about one people, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matthew 15:8)
Oh, may that never be me. May God give us grace to never forsake His presence.
Whatever the words. Whatever the song. May we take a moment or two before we carelessly blurt out the words, and posture our hearts into being fully, deeply engaged and present in what we are saying, and not to mention WHO we are saying it to.
We are coming before the throne of Jesus Himself and singing these words….. may we have our eyes and hearts locked on His presence at every moment.
Man, this gets me fired up. And humbled down.
Oh, my dear sisters, may we just, in stillness, understand that prayer is simply talking to God. It’s magnificently talking to GOD. A honor. Yet He’s a friend.
When you talk to your friend, she listens. She cares. She is a real, live person right in front of you. She cares about your heart and about what you are saying. Her eyes are locked on you, and her attention is yours.
This is the same when you are praying. God is really and actually listening. He hears you. He is alive, right now at this very moment. He cares about your heart and what’s on it… yes, even yours. His eyes are locked on you and His attention is yours.
May we never take lightly that our GOD listens. And answers. And cares.
We are not talking to nothing. We aren’t talking to a wall. Our words don’t disappear into thin air.
Our words are heard. Our hearts are understood. Every single time.
When I come to my God’s throne, looking Him in the face, I can’t even fathom rambling a bunch of words that sound “good” or “religious.” So may I not do that now.
He doesn’t want to hear a pre-rehearsed template. He wants to hear your heart.
May we take a moment before we speak, posture our hearts into an awareness that the God of Redemption is listening, and may we speak words straight from the depths of our hearts… words that matter, words that are raw and real.
How wonderful that, yes, He cares.
And this is a thought that is utterly impossible for us to fathom, but my sister, the God who spoke the stars into the sky, the God who spoke time, the God who spoke light and mountains and jaguars into this world, the God who spoke, “It is finished,”… He listens to us speaking. Wow.
A precious and valuable forty-five minutes when the Word of God is taught.
Yes, the Word of GOD.
Not the word of man. Not a textbook. Not a fairytale. Not a motivational speech.
Oh, my friend, it’s the Word of GOD.
What privilege have we to be taught His Word, in freedom.
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
His Word is living and active, it’s sharp and piercing. And we sit every Sunday morning, yawning and repeatedly glancing at our phone to check Twitter.
Let it pierce you. Let it sharpen you. Let it change you, transform you into the likeness of Christ, from the inside out. May we be a people who know, believe, and understand the remarkable story of our God, from creation to the cross to the Kingdom. May we be able to recite Scripture from it being stored in our hearts. May we have a wisdom in knowing what Scripture means and how to articulate it.
There’s a beautiful simplicity in this: it’s God’s very word.
Let’s be a people who live not just off of bread, but off of every word that comes from our beloved God.
I think that our watered down, non-sacred, disengaged motions every Sunday morning breaks God’s heart and grieves His spirit.
But, my sweet sister, He is pouring out so very much grace on us.
There’s a joy in singing to God; there’s a joy in praying to the King; there’s a joy in meditating on His Word.
It’s joyful. It’s beautiful. It’s deep, raw, and passionate.
May we lean into that. May we posture our heart in adoration. May we be intentional about every single moment as we gather as One.
May we pray for a steady fire to ignite passion and wisdom and honor in His Church, now and tomorrow.
With much, much love. And a heart overwhelmed by the goodness of God. –Melissa
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