The alarm goes off, but you “accidentally” hit the snooze. A little while later, you wake up panicked and running late. You fly through the shower, grab coffee at the gas station on the way and shoot into your parking spot like a NASCAR driver. You blaze past everyone between you and your “assigned” seat and sit down 15 minutes late. Welcome to Sunday morning, and your have just arrived at church. What do you believe comes next in this story? For some it sounds like this, “There is some music, some of which I love the rest I dislike because it is not my style. People read some stuff from the Bible. Some person talks for way too long about thee’s and thou’s and other irrelevant things to my life. We stand up and sit down a few times. They ask for my money. I eat a cookie, drink some coffee, and I talk about the weather before I hurry home to begin the rest of my day.”
I hope that this is an extreme take on what many of you experience in your life. But I ask this because I wonder, what is our expectation for church Worship? Take a moment and honestly ask yourself, what do I expect or believe happens at church Sunday? What do I hope will happen because I go to church? What do I believe we gather for? If we are not careful, church Sunday is just another part of the weekly schedule. We come and go through the motions, and go home excited to check one more thing off our “to do” list.
Look at this scripture from the prophet Isaiah about his experience in worship, “At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:4-5, TNIV) In Luke 1, Zechariah has such a powerful experience in worship that he goes home speechless for months. As we read through scripture worship, being in the presence of God, is an event that transforms people’s lives.
Jesus tells us in Matthew: “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20, TNIV) Jesus tells us that we should come to church with high expectation. We should come expecting that God will show up in a powerful way that will change our lives. What would Sunday morning look like if we came prepared and expecting something powerful? What would the music sound like if we expected that we would connect with God in an intimate way through our voices, if the sermon and scripture reading was a place that God could warm our hearts, open our eyes and change our lives.
What if we took the car ride to church or 2 minutes in the shower to prepare our hearts for worship, what if we expected God to transform our hearts when the Word was read, or that God could use all of the music to bring us peace or clarity? Just try it. Come with great expectations, prayerfully ready to worship for 2 or 3 weeks, and see if God won’t meet us in worship in powerful and life changing ways.