Behold in Worship | Belong to a Community | Become on a Journey
When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.
One of the challenges that we often encounter in our walk of faith is to look at how we are supposed to move from where we currently are towards that place to which God has called us. We can easily talk about what we want to do; however, actually moving towards our goals is a much more difficult task to accomplish. Thinking about your own life, what has helped you to accomplish tasks that seemed to be overwhelming in their scope? How have other people aided you on these journeys? How can you help others along the way?
For many of us, our first interactions with a church come through the experience of a worship service, whether this is on a Sunday morning, a wedding, a funeral, or another type of service. During worship, we seek to offer praise and glory to God, while also gaining a deeper understanding of Him by hearing Scripture read and discussed through a sermon.
A common experience through worship is the beginning of a sense of awe at the work that God does and has invited us to participate with Him in doing. As we learn more about our Creator through worship, we are able to develop a deeper understanding of just who God is, how He works within Creation, and the ultimate goals that He seeks to accomplish.
As we progress further on the journey to which God has called us, we need to grow deeper in our relationship with Him, and to accomplish this, we need to challenge ourselves in new ways. One of these ways is to learn alongside other people. In a setting with other believers, we can learn more about God, ourselves, and our church community.
In addition to learning together with a smaller group of people, this setting allows believers to join together in support of one another on their faith journey. We can provide this type of support through prayer, helping each other in times of need or distress, and often simply by being present. These opportunities to grow alongside of each other allow us to foster deep and meaningful relationships that move beyond what we are capable of developing purely through our experiences of corporate worship.
The theological term that relates to following along the path of God’s call to us is sanctification, which relates to a process wherein, we not only grow closer to God, but also grow more dependent upon Him. At certain points in the process of sanctification, God will call us to engage in more focused learning both about Him and about ourselves that often works best through a mentoring relationship where a person with greater experience helps us through the journey of faith in specific ways.
God of all good, thank you for not only calling us to be your children but also for showing us clear-cut examples of the ways that we are to work with you in accomplishing that which you call us to do. Thank you for giving us the deep knowledge that we can find in your word that we might grow closer to you. Thank you for placing people within our lives who aid us along our journey of faith. Pour your spirit down upon us that we might follow you ever more closely and that we might live as you desire that we do. Help us, Lord, to be the people who you know that we might be. In Christ’s name we pray; amen.