I recently read this awesome devotion based on Eugene Peterson’s book, “Every step an arrival”. The last 2 days of this devotion, Peterson speaks about attending church and about worship. His views really enlightened me. I’ll cover worship in my next blog.
When it comes to attending church, he draws his insight from Solomon’s dedication of the temple and the prayer that Solomon prayed in 1 Kings 8:22 – 43 The prayer gives purpose for the temple he built and the principle carries into today’s church gathering.
This is what Peterson says, “The common-sense objection to God dwelling on earth in a house of prayer, to God meeting us in a place of worship, has not been able to survive the evidence of experience and faith. After all, common sense is one of the least reliable tests of reality.”
I understand this to mean, that “common-sense” would dismiss the idea of God meeting us in a building. But the evidence of experience and faith defies this so called “common-sense”.
He adds, “The cynical question “Can it be?” (that God would meet us in a building), is answered by a deeper reason, a wider experience, and a realistic faith that says, “Yes, indeed!””
Becoming a Conduit
He goes onto say that the visible act of gathering, becomes a “conduit” for the invisible. There are three areas where Solomon prays about the visible gathering becoming a conduit to the invisible. And these three aspects of Solomon’s prayer still apply today. They are: (And I quote Eugene Peterson)…
- History – Through church we bring to memory the great encounters with God in the past. A poor memory is a threat to our prayers.
- God’s forgiveness – All too often our prayers are about what God can do for us. The thing that stops us from always praying only for ourselves, is the prayer of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the turning point in prayer. It is the transition from seeking our own way from God, to yielding our lives to Him, so that He can perform his will in us.
- The foreigner – or stranger. When our interest is exclusively ourselves, our families and small circles of acquaintances, we lose all sensitivity to the vast church of Christ and the world Christ is seeking to bring into fellowship with Him.
When You Attend Church
When you consider your church attendance in the future, I would urge you to remember that gathering with others, is more than a tradition, more than checking a box, it is the visible manifesting of the invisible, declaring God’s redemption in our world.