God Is The Audience
Do you leave church services sometimes and feel like you didn't "get" anything out of it? Before I say another word, I do!
Definitely, we want to leave having been recharged, built up, spurred toward love and good deeds, having increased our love for one another and having grown our faith. But if we only go to "get" something out of it, we are missing the bigger picture.
We must go to "give" too, and I'm not talking about our money. We have been conditioned because of other worldly activities and religious circles, to feel like we are an observer at worship, like we are the audience. That simply is not true. GOD IS THE ONLY AUDIENCE!
We go to be the performers, those doing the worshipping. We are not there as observers. As we are assembled, God and Christ promise this, "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matt 18:20) Do you sing, purposefully and 'to God' while He is with us or do you just listen? Where are your thoughts during worship? Are you cognizant that God is right there beside you, around you, and in you? Are you somewhere else in your mind doing something else? Did you come to receive the Word, and do you take it with you when you leave? Did you express love to others in words and songs? Did you encourage anyone? We must come to participate, to be the ones doing the worshipping. Outside of the worship time, if we failed to interact with others, exchanging words of encouragement and being a part of their lives, we again missed out.
If we leave worship feeling like the process failed us, it's time to look at what we put into it, what we came to give and examine our efforts. If we leave judging whether or not our time was worthwhile based on what we "watched or viewed", our assessment is not based on what God intended. God never purposed for the worship to be a "show" or a presentation where people assemble for the purpose of watching and being entertained. I'm afraid at times we treat it that way because it has evolved into that in todays religious circles. We have a song leader, but he's "leading" the worshipping of those gathered, he's not a performer for those assembled, and the same goes for the preacher. He is there to deliver the Gospel, all of it, not to entertain with stories, polished speech and feel good messages.
We in the church that belongs to Christ must obtain our direction and authority from the scriptures so that the worship assembly isn't entertainment at all, but a faith growing experience where we give our praises to Him, give our thanksgiving to Him as well as take our requests and concerns before Him, commune with Christ in the remembrance of His death and feed on His Word in harmony with the others worshipping. May God help us understand His will for us in the worship process and give us the ability to participate as one gathered in His name.