Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Psalm 111 makes a passing reference to the context of our worship, and, in fact, all our life before God. Verse one places it in "the congregation." This is significant, especially in a culture that values the individual above the group. With a growing portion of Americans identifying as "spiritual but not religious" and as "religiously unaffiliated," I am drawn back to this idea of our human need for a group identity. We recognize an increasing trend of depression, anxiety, and concern about the direction our society is going. People seem ready to reach out to temporary social movements. A march for women, a climate change movement, a group engaged in advocacy for species which may face extinction - any of these activities can provide us with an identity and a momentary sense of purpose.
There's a drawback to these advocacy movements. Actually, there are several drawbacks, but one which fits with our Scripture passage today should be fairly obvious. Those movements normally don't last very long. They are not seriously intergenerational. They don't welcome everyone to participate. They lack the "forever" and the "for everyone" that we find in the Christian faith, in the assembled congregation. They eventually divide rather than uniting. You may say that I just listed five drawbacks, but they come as a package. In effect, they are all one inherent problem, that of being human organizations established on a fallen understanding of affairs in a fallen world, lacking eternal perspective. No wonder we find them unfulfilling in the end.
You might counter by saying the reason people don't join the Christian congregation is because it is irrelevant and speaks only to a small slice of life. I would suggest this is exactly the problem which has led to the decline in many supposedly Christian organizations. In the past few centuries, as we have seen at other times in history, those which focus on human abilities have not only lost their divine perspective, but they have also lost the interest of the humans they try to approach. This is a failure on all counts.
Rather, let us join in the genuine congregation, as God's people, recognizing His eternal, just, and good governance of all. Gaining a divine perspective enables us to be different and make a difference in this world. That's what the Church is, a congregation of those redeemed by God as He reconciles the world to Himself.
Wittenberg Door Campus Ministry can help you find this Christian walk in faithful congregations. Let us know if you need help getting plugged in!
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