Tuesday, April 28, 2020

In Which I Say Nothing About Ear Lobes, Thumbs, And Big Toes

As we continue our online "services" and "gatherings," I find myself wondering why we call our gatherings, services to begin with. That question led me to this post by Anthony Smith. His comments led me to work up this definition.
Just as the Lord called Israel out of Egypt to serve him, and just as the priests served by offering sacrifices, so now all believers serve as priests in offering the sacrifices of praise. We gather together to perform this service. (cf. Exod 10:3; Lev 7:35; 1 Pet 2:5; 1 Tim 2:1;  Heb 13:15)
We don't think of ourselves as preserving the Levitical-ritual tradition when we gather on Sunday morning. Maybe we sometimes think about the Psalmic-festival tradition; let us come into the house of the Lord, enter his gates with praise, that kind of thing. The closest we get to Leviticus is communion. Rather than making any blood sacrifice, we remember the only sufficient blood sacrifice.

I look forward to once again gathering physically in the same place to perform services. Or, perform might not be the best word. We don't want to hold performances and call them worship. Let's just say we long to gather together to serve.

Might we do well to soften the division between worship and service? Maybe we'd congratulate ourselves less if we called cleaning up the playground a worship project. Maybe we'd approach worship more seriously if we saw ourselves as Aaron's sons and daughters.

I'm saying nothing new here. It's only the idea that the servant on the back row should have the same spirit as the servant in the choir. We cannot make that happen. But, if we can do anything to make it more likely, our return to offline service gatherings would be great timing!

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