By Valerie Del a Torre
Faculty, College of Theology
Once upon a time, not long ago on Sunday, churches were full, stores, gas stations and even saloons were closed and families spent a day together. Well, fast forward to our day and Sunday is a fully scheduled day to get everything in that we missed over the week or the day for the cabin, the lake and the ball game. What about the church?
Our Spiritual Growth Challenge of corporate worship begs the question; is worship the purpose of Sunday or an addition to Sunday? One thing we know for sure, corporate worship is a call to all believers to practice the presence of God as a community on a regular basis; and while challenges to the Church in the world today abound, gathering together is still an important part of spiritual life and our public testimony.
Check out more of what needs to be considered below:
The history of Christian worship has been a diverse corporate experience as we view it by way of liturgical tradition, on those churches that focus on the preaching of the Word or churches that look to the experience of the Spirit as main emphasis.
Timeless Worship, Shifting Methods
The music of worship has also been diverse through a wide spectrum of styles, instrumentation, delivery and in recent decades, a move away from the stories of Christian events into a more experiential meeting.
Does the way we worship change with people’s needs alone or can we attribute these shifts to changing culture that needs to experience God differently? One thing we know for sure, corporate worship is a call to all believers to practice the presence of God as a community on a regular basis; and while challenges to the Church in the world today abound, gathering together is still an important part of spiritual life and our public testimony.
The Worship Imperative
The Neuroscience community in recent years has helped to explain how our human brains engage with both music and “the concept” of God. Their findings confirm the long-lasting effect of belief that soothes, comforts, enlivens and affects the health of the brain as it “changes” or emotionally heals accordingly.
This, I would suggest, can be linked to what the Paul tells us the deeper reasons for singing those hymns, songs and spiritual songs in Ephesians 5:19-20 and again in Colossians 3: 16-17, which is to experience thanksgiving and praise “in the heart.” The heart is connected to the mind, the mind with the body and in turn, our souls are able to experience something different, something unique as we present our broken, weary and discouraged selves in solidarity unto God in our weekly, corporate encounters with the living God. We must not cast aside this invitation to worship as the body of Christ, representing the Church universal in our calling to God’s ongoing redemptive work in the world.
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