The trellis and the vine is a great metaphor. I referenced it earlier this week when thinking about some of the intangibles for ECS. It’s also connected to our upcoming seminar where the pastors will be talking about some of the things that make TEC unique, none of which are program related.
A trellis is not for praise. There are no trellis competitions at the county fair. Trellis, if it is doing its job, should not be the focus. It can be depended on but it ought not be the culmination.
When we assemble on the Lord’s Day we follow a mid-level liturgy, not the highest or lowest. It’s more than songs and sermon (low liturgy), but it’s less than swinging thuribles with their burning incense (high liturgy). Most of us value the order and flow of the service, but the liturgy is just trellis. The Israelites had precise instructions given directly by God Himself for their offerings and worship, and God hated the things He prescribed when they weren’t done from the heart.
this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me, (Isaiah 29:13 ESV)
Switch the illustration. There are some really good stew recipes, making stew that almost fills you up smelling it simmer. But it doesn’t matter how amazing your recipe is if you add chunks of rancid meat to the pot.
So follow the Cs—or don’t, kneel—or don’t, take sermon notes—or don’t, have wine—or don’t, but where is your heart inclined? What is in your heart? The Lord looks on the heart. Let your praise be from a whole heart. Lift up your soul with a pure heart.