Cuthbert United Methodist Church
Wednesday, August 22, 2018

CORPORATE WORSHIP

1. Sometimes our spiritual fire goes cold and dry on its own.  Even spiritual giant Martin Luther once said “at home, in my own house, there is no warmth or vigor in me, but in the church when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and it breaks its way through.”   There’s something very empowering about being with other people who believe in some One invisible, who help us to have faith when God seems silent, who remind us that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves, and where we can testify to God’s action in the world.  Feeling “hot?” – now’s the time to be a sparkler!
 
2. There’s power in numbers!  In the beginning, God created Eve to be with Adam, because “It is not good to be alone.”  At our baptism, we are baptized into a community, born again into the Body of Christ. The word “corporate” means “united or combined into one body.”  When we gather together in worship, God can build up our Body and empower us to lift high the cross.   Jesus implied corporate prayer when he taught us to pray, “OUR Father…”  Sometimes, sin is not as much individual as corporate or systemic.  When we come together to confess, we are able to repent of that sin-sickness, and find reconciliation with God and each other.  Also, it is through meeting with other believers that God often speaks to us. 
 
3. It’s a God Thing. From Genesis, God has called God’s people to gather at least once a week to worship.  Regular attendance to worship is the wisdom and blessing of God, a gift given to us through law and tradition.  In private worship, we may pick and choose what we want to hear.  But when we gather together, as we are commanded to do, we find discipline (that’s a good thing) through the authority of the Church. We are given Ministers to guide our faith journeys through Word, sacrament, and order.  Together with Christians of many denominations, we hear the entire Bible in a 3-year cycle, through the common lectionary.  We practice our traditions, share time-honored liturgies and creeds, and find expression through God-inspired hymns and songs. In that hour together, we rehearse the holiness that we hope to live out, in the week to come.
 
4. If you were invited to worship with Jesus this week, would you go?   Jesus promised, “where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.”  Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”  That does not sound like an experience you’d want to miss!  God can work on “perfecting us in love” when avail ourselves of the holy sacraments and means of grace that are offered at corporate worship.  Sometimes we don’t even understand what’s happening, or what we need!  We just show up, and Holy Spirit acts – to heal, to reform, to erase, to make new, to give us joy.  
 
One of our Council goals for the year was to increase our regular attendance of weekly worship.  Life pulls us every which-way and it’s a challenge to set aside even one hour a week!  But,  imagine what God could do with Aldersgate’s people and power, if each of us to try to increase our attendance by one Sunday a month.  If you’re coming about once a month, try every other week!  Twice? - try three times a month!  And if you’re averaging three times a month, well, you might as well see what happens when your attendance is perfect!  If you’re already coming every week, then you know what that’s doing for your life – so let it shine!   Jesus said, “Sabbath is made for man.”  So “remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy” –  it’s what disciples do, and it’s a world-changer!