On Tuesday, mine and Megan’s small/house group at church started the Big Bible Project’s Big Read 2012. The course is a Lent course designed to look at Jesus in depth throughout the period of Lent. Some of the posts that I will be writing throughout the period of Lent will be reflections on some of the things that our small group discussed.
This week then is a reflection of the first session of the Lent Course compiled by Tom Wright entitled Preparation. If you want to have a look at the notes and Bible reading, then you may download them here or go to the direct Big Read website here.
Anyway, whilst we talked about a lot of things, I just want to throw out some questions and ideas that came from one particular issue that we discussed in our house group.
What I was particularly interested (as were the rest of us) was the notion of coming before God to worship.
Therefore, the question was asked:
When ‘meeting Jesus’ should we ‘Come as we are’, or should we be making an effort?
This is interesting, as John the Baptist in Mark 1 made way for the Lord. He pointed to Jesus. He came as he was, recognising his unworthiness, yet made an effort in his life when he came to God to worship.
To get the conversation going, I asked whether or not the song ‘Come, just as you are, to worship’ was theologically correct or not. You can listen to it here:
Because, the truth of the matter is that we can’t come to worship ‘just as we are’ because God can’t bear to look at anything that is unclean. It is only through Jesus that we can come to worship God, right?
Then Megan said that a slogan that they used to use at her previous church was ‘Come as you are, but don’t stay as you are’. Does this slogan incorporate both the ‘coming as you are’ and ‘making an effort’ in our worship?
We also wondered whether those who come to church and haven’t found Jesus yet can genuinely and/or properly worship God. Can they? If they are singing the songs, doing the liturgy, praying, are they worshipping?
What is the heart of worship? The Sunday school answer is of course, ‘Jesus’. But how does that apply to us? When exactly do we start worshipping Jesus? At the point of salvation? After salvation? Before salvation?
We had a brilliant discussion on this, and I invite you to join in. You may wish to comment below and include your opinions and interpretations. It may be worth looking at Mark 1 for yourself.
Really excited for next week now!
Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre.
Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about
Excellent conversation – really interesting to see where it’s going!
Good topic for discussion. It seems to me the question is, make an effort at what?
If we’re trying to make an effort to make ourselves acceptable by God, then no. Hebrews 10 tells us we can come with confidence into the Most Holy Place to have fellowship God through Jesus. It’s not by our own efforts, but by what Jesus has done. Come as you are!
But we are told to “come”, and we need to make the effort to pursue and seek fellowship with God. So I think the effort we make is to fix our eyes on Jesus and on what he has done, to delight in God our Father, and to walk with the Spirit in faith. Since we don’t naturally seek God, this is itself a change of heart, and one that will result in deep changes in our whole lives.
Thanks, you two, for the comments. Really excited about how the course is opening up discussion, provoking thought, and ultimately, helping us to get to know Jesus better. Really encouraged!
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