We talked a bit about worship this last weekend and as I was gearing up to take another stab at my series on business, I had this thought
I can think of several incredible, life-altering worship times in my 42 years, but as I recall them, one startling commonality appears: Being in one accord.
Every one of the times that I felt like something magnificent was occurring in worship, I can also remember that the people with whom I was worshiping the Lord were all of like mind. Some shared trait bound us together and we all wanted to be near the Lord.
- At 14 on the weekend retreat during which I gave my life to Christ, all the people gathered to worship during that beautiful communion time were my close friends from church.
- At 16 on an Appalachian work project, it was the fact that we were working toward a common goal.
- At 19 on a college weekend retreat, it was that all of us wanted to know God more intimately.
- At 20 at the Urbana Conference, all of us were mission-minded guys.
- At 22 on another weekend retreat at the same camp I’d given my life to Christ at, it was a reunion of many of the people from the retreat when I was 14.
- At 26, working on staff at a camp that was having issues, it was all of us staff that were on the outs with the rest of the camp sharing a communion meal together.
- At 27, it was being hauled off with others by the police as part of an anti-abortion rally, even though we’d done nothing wrong.
- At 33 on my wedding day, when we worshiped God together in that happy moment.
Those were the memorable ones that seemed to tap something in me. The likemindedness of the people there in those moments captured something in our worship that made each time special. There was a connection that happened on both the vertical and horizontal level that made that communion with the Lord rise beyond the everyday.
The last group worship time I remember as being truly sweet was almost ten years ago. As I look back over that time, the one thing that strikes me is that somewhere along the line likemindedness vanished.
Now my wife and I are very likeminded, almost eerily so. But I wonder what has happened either to us or the cadre of Christians around us that we don’t see as many of those life-altering worship times anymore. I guess the sense I have is disconnectedness with other worshipers. The horizontal doesn’t seem to be as strong as it once was. Having a group of likeminded people around us appears much harder to come by.
Does anyone else experience this or even understand what I’m talking about?
3 thoughts on “Likemindedness and Life-altering Worship”
Richard Foster talks a lot about unity in A Celebration of Discipline (we’re currently doing a series based on the book for our mid week meeting at the moment). In the secion on Guidance he says something about the unity of the body which can also apply to the worship situation you are describing. In commenting on the way the early church lived the idea in Matt 18:19,20 If two of you on earth agree about anything… he writes:
In those words Jesus gave his disciples both assurance and authority. There was the assurance that when a people genuinely gathered in his name his will could be discerned. The superintending Spirit would utilise the checks and balances of the different believers to ensure that when their hearts were in unity they were in rhythm with the heartbeat of the Father. Assured that they had heard the voice of the true Shepherd, they were able to pray and act with authority [ and worship* ]. His will plus their unity equalled authority.
* My addition.
I know what you’re talking about Dan. This year I’ve been learning that the best worship times have always been with people who are like-minded. Now that I’m out of college…times like that aren’t accessible as they used to be. I seeing the challenge we’re up against to grow as a community in the Western framework of “church.”
YES! ME! I think some of it is due to the continual segregation according to age, marital status and everything else churches can think up to separate people.
For me and my peer-age group, we am in the smallest generation of the 20th century (people who are now in their 60’s..the generation between Baby Boomers and the WWII generation) and it has always been difficult for us to find people in our age group in churches. I personally don’t really care how old or young a person is if they are like-minded. Right now, most of my like minded friends are on the Internet. Of course some of that is due to my being “imprisoned,” taking care of my mother for 6 years.
Out here in S. California I hear this constantly from both married and singles. I’ve known quite a few people from other parts of the country that say it is extremely difficult to make Christian friends out here. IMO the churches aren’t doing enough to organize people into smaller groups that are EFFECTIVE in this fellowship area.