Corporate worship

groupAnother barrier to celebratory worship has to do with the walls of individuality that we often build when we think about corporate worship. Seems like an oxymoron: individuality in corporate worship. Yet much of Western Christianity is based on a concept of individual salvation, personal Bible study, a private relationship with God….

Nowhere is this seen better than the Lord’s Supper. In churches of Christ, at least, this is often seen as an individual moment. We read 1 Corinthians 11 more often than any other passage, yet we seem to ignore the teachings of that passage. We emphasize 11:28, which talks about each man examining himself, and downplay 11:29, which talks about us being aware of the gathered body of believers. (while some confusion exists over the use of the word “body” in this verse, the text itself makes it clear that this refers to the church)

We’ve created a culture where people feel that they can enter a service and leave, speaking only to a bare minimum of people. After all, we’re there to be with God, right? Wrong. We’re there to be with the body of Christ, worshiping together, communing together at the Table of the Lord, singing together, hearing Scripture together. Together. Corporately.

Corporate worship is a family gathering. Can you imagine someone going to a family reunion, eating a meal, then leaving without speaking to anyone? Some people try to do it at church.

Let’s put the corporate back into corporate worship. It will do us all some good.

3 thoughts on “Corporate worship

  1. Dana

    Some of us recently began a house church where we have the lords supper as a meal instead of a crumb of bread and a thimble of juice. It’s much easier to understand the benefits of communion when you actually have time to commune together. It’s more natural feeling to eat while you study about Christ. Not just an awkward moment of silence. Thanks for the article.

  2. Jerry Starling

    When I was a young preacher, in my 30’s, I told a congregation that if we built our auditorium’s in keeping with our wish “not to be distracted” while taking the Lord’s Supper (where did that expression originate?), we would have isolation booths instead of pews. While I would hardly say it quite that way today 40+ years later, one of the weaknesses I see in our corporate worship is the lack of horisontal cation in our vertical (only?) communion on Sunday morning.

  3. Jerry Starling

    Sorry about how I tried to get cute with that last sentence, which should read, “…one of the weaknesses I see in our corporate worship is the lack of horizontal communication in our vertical (only?) communion on Sunday morning.”

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