September 27, 2002

Public Worship

Category: Theology - Liturgical :: Permalink

What happens in our public worship? Frederica Matthews-Green writes:

A little church on Sunday morning is a negligible thing. It may be the meekest, and least conspicuous, thing in America. Someone zipping between Baltimore’s airport and beltway might pass this one, a little stone church drowsing like a hen at the corner of Maple and Camp Meade Road. At dawn all is silent, except for the click every thirty seconds as the oblivious traffic light rotates through its cycle. The building’s bell tower out of proportion, too large and squat and short to match. Other than that, there’s nothing much to catch the eye.In a few hours heaven will strike earth like lightning on this spot. The worshipers in this little building will be swept into a divine worship that proceeds eternally, grand with seraphim and incense and God enthroned, “high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1). The foundations of that temple shake with the voice of angels calling “Holy” to each other, and we will be there, lifting fallible voices in the refrain, an outpost of eternity.

If this is true, it is the most astonishing thing that will happen in our city today.

In the latest Credenda/Agenda (which isn’t yet online), Doug Wilson argues that it is true — though it’s not so much that heaven touches down on earth as the other way around: “Christians have the enormous privilege of ascending into heaven in their worship on the Lord’s Day.” Commenting on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Wilson writes,

In our public worship, we do not come to a mountain that can be touched (12:18), but we do come to a mountain, a heavenly Zion. What happens when a small group of saints gathers in a clapboard community church somewhere out in the sticks? At their call to worship, they ascend to the City of God, to the heavenly Jerusalem. They walk into the midst of innumerable angels (12:22). They come to the general assembly of the universal Church, and come into the presence of God Himself (12:23).

Posted by John Barach @ 2:56 pm | Discuss (0)

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