One of the greatest privileges we have as believers is gathering together for corporate worship. Every week, we have the opportunity to join with our spiritual family to exalt our Father and glorify His name. How awesome is that! I often think about our weekly gatherings and pray that such moments are life-giving expressions of God’s grace. Perhaps no one has captured my own vision of the corporate worship event like John Piper did when he offered the following assessment:
I dream about a gathering of people who love the conversation of Christian friendship, but who, for the sake of the depth of that very conversation, give it up for one hour and during the organ prelude bow in unashamed earnestness of prayer that the Spirit of God might descend upon our worship and shake this place with his power. I dream of a gathered family of believers on Sunday morning as genuinely happy in God as families are on the first day of vacation, or around a big turkey at Thanksgiving, or beside the Christmas tree when the gifts are given out. Unfettered hearts of joy, free to say, “Amen!” when the choir has carried us to God, or when the organ praise has enthroned the King of kings, or when the preacher speaks some incomparable gospel truth. I dream of an hour together where grudges melt and old festering wounds are healed in the warmth of the joy of the Lord. An hour with God where battered saints absorb the strength and power of the Lord to re-enter their work revived and strong on Monday. I dream of a people gathered, hungry to hear the Word of God, and to make a joyful noise to the God of their salvation with song and organ and piano and trumpets, and flutes and strings and cymbals and shouts. I dream of one hour a week with you where we encounter God together in such a real and unmistakable way that strangers will enter and say, “God is surely in this place!”
Isn’t that a majestic picture of what our worship should look like? Shouldn’t that be our weekly aim? I certainly believe so! And to be quite honest, I sense that spirit stirring among us already. I look forward to joining with all of you every week; our worship opportunities excite and energize my faith! I encourage you to take these weekly gatherings seriously and pray for them before you even arrive. Moreover, I encourage you to join us this coming Sunday night for a special service of worship and renewal. Our choir and orchestra, along with our youth and college students, will lead us in a time of praise. It is going to be great! I hope you will be there and that you will invite others as well. Looking forward to this Sunday! May we demonstrably know that God was “surely in this place!” See you then!