In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader from the The Chronicles of Narnia saga, Aslan tells the two Pevensie children and their cousin the reason why they were brought to Narnia. As he is sending them back to our world, Aslan says to them, “This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
This dialogue from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader beautifully illustrates why we assemble for worship and fellowship. We assemble each week for worship and fellowship so that by knowing Christ in the worshiping assembly for a little bit each week, we may know him better out in our daily lives.
This is why I dislike the phrase “I’m going to Church.”
We don’t “go” to Church; we ARE the Church! We may go to worship, or go to our Sunday assembly, and then go from our weekly assembly to serve — but we ARE the Church.
We go to worship in order to hear the Word proclaimed and receive the Word in bread and wine. Yes, we go to our weekly assembly to be equipped and empowered by the Word of God in community, so that we will GO to live out the kingdom of God on earth as in heaven.
As we assemble each week and share our God-given spiritual gifts with each other, and access the means of God’s grace (Word and Sacrament), we are strengthened to go live daily God-conscious lives and to do the work of ministry in the world around us.
As we read in Ephesians 4:
“The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints [all of us] for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.” (Ephesians 4: 11-13)
So, let us not merely “go” to Church; let us BE the Church by God’s grace!!!
Yes, please, go to worship and go to Bible study. But, please, BE THE CHURCH and live the faith, hope and love of Christ at home, at work, at play — privately and publically — as you are continually empowered to do by God’s grace through Word, Sacrament and Christian fellowship.
Worship is not the performance; it is rehearsal. Our performance is for the kingdom of God in our daily life.
Worship is not the big game; it is practice. Our big game is for the kingdom of God in our homes, in our service to others, at our place of work, and at play.
Worship and fellowship each week is our Narnia, so that knowing Christ in the assembly of worship, we might know him better throughout the other days of the week.
God’s love and grace communicated through Word, Sacrament and Fellowship calls us, gathers us, strengthens us, equips us and sends us “for the work of ministry” (Eph. 4:12a) out in the everyday world of our daily lives.
Therefore, as we read on in Ephesians 4:
“We must no longer be children… But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.” (Eph. 4:14-16)
Together in Christ’s Mission, Pastor Tim