Worship is two things.
It is all of life.
And, in a very focused sense, it is a specific set of activities at a specific time and place in life.
It can be all of life. It can spread out to everything. It’s also a very specific, contained, focused experience.
You’ve seen those shirts that say: Football is life… and we get that that means that, for some, football spreads out over all of life. But we also understand that there is a sense in which football is a very specific and well-defined experience. The game literally happens on a dedicated space: there are boundary lines drawn on the ground, there’s a clock that marks the start and completion of the event.
There are rules and there’s strategy and specific roles and real effort and a clearly-defined purpose.
Worship is like that.
Worship can spread out to all of life. But worship is also a clearly-defined event.
I want to speak to the second of those two – the worship gathering.
When Christians gather for worship (the gathering and the declaring and the praying and the singing), we are taking part in what has been a major piece and a well-defined piece of the common life of the people of God:
throughout the past
(the whole Bible is full of people gathering for worship)
and even looking forward to the future
(Heaven is described, as we just heard, as an ongoing worship gathering).
Therefore, if we want to drown out the darkness with our light now, if we want to battle against the evil in our world here in the present, if we want to experience resurrection, not just as a historic event and not just as a future hope, but as a present reality we should worship.
We should worship lots.
We should worship at home and at work and at school.
We should worship in every imaginable way.
But what I want to emphasize today is this:
When we gather for the specific purpose of worship as we do every Sunday, we simply must do whatever it takes to fully-engage our hearts and minds in this thing we sometimes casually refer to as “going to church.” Because we’re not just “going to church.” We are Christians gathered for the specific purpose of worshipping our God.