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Lord's Day Liturgy

More Than Pejoratives

One of the most consequential new-normals of liturgy for us is the weekly celebration of communion. Sharing the Lord’s Supper together every Lord’s Day has done more to wreck our identity as truth-tubes than any verbal pejoratives I can use, including the moniker “truth-tubes” itself. Coming to the Lord’s Table with thanksgiving has developed feasting muscles we didn’t know Christians were supposed to have.

It wasn’t about the ordinance of communion, but here’s what Jesus said about the organic nature of communion.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he is is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5).

Abiding is trusting, abiding is relying, abiding is being connected. There is no such thing as too much abiding. There is no such thing as taking abiding for granted; that is not abiding.

Eating the bread and drinking the wine as an assembly is more than another learning opportunity, it is more than obedience to the Lord’s command, it is our spiritual union with Him and with each other.

Still an organic image, but switching from branches to flowers, here is John Bunyan.

Christians are like the several flowers in a garden, that have upon each of them the dew of heaven, which, being shaken with the wind, they let fall their dew at each other’s roots, whereby they are jointly nourished, and become nourishers of each other. (John Bunyan, Christian Behavior, quoted in Brown, 173)

We are alive in Christ; His life flows through us. We are not isolated from Him, and that means we are more than individuals. We are His tree, His garden, His body. Communion is not a reminder of our communion; the ordinance is not merely a time for truth-telling about communion. It is a reminder of Christ’s death which enables us to have communion, that His joy may be in us and that we may love one another.

Categories
Lord's Day Liturgy

Mere Accuracy

The thing that causes Christians to stand out from the world is not merely our accuracy. Believers are right about God’s existence and about salvation in God’s Son alone, but there is more to our identity than identifying (and departing from) error. Unbelievers are in a state of spiritual blindness, their minds are darkened, but the primary dividing line between us is not merely true and false.

The primary difference is that we are with God. We know the truth, but that is not an abstraction; Jesus said He is the truth (John 14:6). God is light (1 John 1:5), there is no darkness in Him at all (1 John 1:7), and when we walk in the light we have fellowship with Him. When God saves us, He does more than enable us to answer more theology questions correctly.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does know know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we will be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)

In these few verses we understand why we are out of step with the world, we understand the importance of worship, and we understand the goal of our confession.

We become like who (or what) we behold, and as we behold God, we take on His shape. As children we see our Father and we grow up to be like Him. At the appointed time, our godliness will be glorified, and that is more than fastidious factuality.

Even now we grow in the process. We hunger and thirst for righteousness because that is what our Father is like. He is pure, holy. When He calls us to confess our sins it is not primarily to enforce His power of us, it is not ultimately to get us to agree with Him what we are wrong, it is so that He might share His own likeness with us. “He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10).