(Christ Redeemer: Milwaukee, WI)

I read a tweet yesterday by someone who attended a recent worship conference that said:
I love seeing worshipers so disconnected with the audience and stage and so connected with God."
I understand the sentiment of worshipers longing to be in the presence of the Lord with abandon, not getting distracted by what's happening around them. I myself long for the presence of the Lord, and I am prone to distraction, especially technological. BUT, I think comments like this epitomize the individualism of the contemporary worship culture. I think the commenter is making an accurate observation, I just wish he didn't love it. It grieves me that our practices reinforce individualism.

I submit that the way we connect with God in worship is precisely BY connecting with others in the worshiping community. If we're not connecting with others, including the people on the stage, in worship, I don't see how we can connect with God. It's more likely that we are connecting with something our emotions have conjured up. We really have no way of knowing.

Our identity as followers of Jesus is primarily communal. We don't know who we are as individuals until we are part of an embodied community. Our individuality flows out of our communality. (This is very difficult for our Western minds to comprehend.) We gather around the Lord's Table each week, because it is here that we our formed into the body of Christ, and it is from here that we are sent into the world as missionaries.

In our homes we connect with others most naturally around the dinner table. We establish and grow relational connections by opening our tables to our neighbors. We do this because we are human, yes, but it means even more for us as Christians, sent ones, who have been given the responsibility of helping others connect with God. Just as Jesus is present with us in the bread an cup in the corporate gathering, we are present in body and blood with others in our homes, inviting them into relationship with us and so with God.

This is not to say that we don't connect with God on an individual level, too, but I feel we are setting ourselves up for failure of private devotion unless our personal connection to God flows out of our communal connection to his body. Do we have an imagination for this?

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati