Picking up the thread of liturgy and holiness from several weeks ago, I made the statement that a God-honoring liturgy produces holiness. Woven into the fabric of that claim is the reality that worshiping God is the high point of what holy people do, so we shouldn’t miss the fact that worship doesn’t just produce holiness as the end result; when we worship God rightly, our worship is holiness in action. Worship isn’t the quarter you drop in the slot to get the candy bar of holiness. It’s more like the dancing – you become a better dancer by dancing, for the purpose of dancing. The means and the end are tightly bound up together. The point of being a holy person is to experience the holiness of God by doing holy things in a holy way. Put another way, fellowship with God both depends on and produces godliness.
Worship is the place where we learn and model holiness, in order to live out lives of holiness every day. But worship is not “practice” for the big game of real life. Rather, our worship, in the patterns and habits it creates in us, is preparing us for a life of glory when the new heavens and new earth are united upon Christ’s return. Our day-to-day lives are the practice, and worship is a two-hour piece of eternity breaking in to time and space, a preview of coming attractions. Our prayer as disciples of Jesus is this: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” When we worship, we have ascended to heaven, and for a brief moment, we see and experience what heavenly life is like. When we hear God’s commission at the end of the service, we return to earthly life, but we carry in our heads, hearts, and hands what it was like in heaven, and the kingdom comes on earth as we live it out. We go to heaven on Sunday to find out what earth is supposed to look like the rest of the week, and then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we do it.
So when we hear God’s call, and rejoice to go to His house, when we receive God’s cleansing and forgiveness, when we hear Him consecrate us with His Word, when we share a meal at His table, and when we go forth in His power, we should be thinking how we can make our lives like that. Are we calling people to come and be with God? Are we giving and receiving forgiveness? Are we being formed and shaped by the Word of God in every area of our lives? Do our tables look like Jesus’ table, where we welcome all who are hungry to a rich feast? And do we view our purpose in life as sharing in the mission of Jesus?
On earth as it is in heaven – may it be so.