Doesn’t it sound strange to say that we should be focused on people when we come together? That’s not the way most of us learned Christianity.
Why did we put on our Sunday best? To present ourselves before God. It wasn’t about people.
Why did we speak in hushed tones before the assembly? We were supposed to show reverence to God.
Why did so many of us close our eyes or look down when taking the Lord’s Supper? Because it was a personal time with God.
None of these, of course, is in the Bible. The New Testament says to avoid showy clothes when coming together; we tend to misread the concept of modest dress in the Bible. It’s about avoiding ostentation.
The hushed tones? Not in there. I dare say that there’s more about shouting to God than whispering to God.
And the Lord’s Supper? Oh, that’s an old pet peeve of mine. Much of this comes to a real misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 11. Suffice it to say that the Corinthians’ problem was that they weren’t aware of one another when taking the Supper; the same problem exists in a lot of churches today.
I think Hebrews 10 is helpful as we consider all of this, especially verses 19-25:
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:19–25)
We draw near to God together, considering one another, looking how to spur one another on to love and good deeds, seeking to encourage one another through our meeting together.
We honor God in our assemblies, but we must never neglect the body of Christ. We come together, joining lives of worship together, in a build-one-another-up moment.