Preparation for Worship 03.08.15

Hello all.
As one of your worship leaders I want to start giving you helpful tools for your growth and walk in your Christian faith. One of those tools is this blog. Each week I hope to give you a short devotional to follow that will center itself around the congregational readings for the week and will hopefully help you prepare for Sunday's worship by taking you through the story of the Gospel as found in different biblical contexts.

At the least I encourage you to be meditating on the scriptures featured each week so that our liturgical readings can become something more than just a part of our service and, instead, be a beautiful reminder of the story of God: a story that we're all a part of. 

I'll share with you what I've gotten out of these readings as I've been going through them, and I encourage you to share your own meditations in the comments. Our study of the bible is not just about our personal gleanings: but about how we, as Christ's body, can encourage one another through the reading of the word together. I hope that you'll take a few minutes each week to participate in this together. 

-A


Worship 03.08.15


This week our liturgy will focus on the first chapter of the Gospel of John 1 vv. 1-18 encourage you to read the whole section, but the specific verses we'll touch on are:  John 1.1, John 1.10-11, and John 1. 12-13. I'll put the texts here. I've chosen the NLT translation because I've found that it's helpful for my personal study of the bible since it's easy to read and I'm thus less prone to distraction:

In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
— John 1.1
He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.
— John 1.10-11
But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
— John 1.12-13

One of the major motifs of John's Gospel is an effort to communicate that Jesus is God. This is one of the reasons for John's opening exposition. One of the prevailing worldviews of the age in this time was that the universe had a systematic and logical ordering that was referred to as the logos,  

Logos, to the philosophers of the day, was the groundwork that the universe was built on: Logic, reason, and understanding. When John says "In the beginning was the word" he's actually using the word "logos": so the phrase might read "in the beginning was the logos". To us that might not seem significant: but to the people of his age it is very significant! John is telling them that what they call the ordering of the universe is God Himself!

He goes on in the subsequent verses to outline the coming of Christ until we come to our second selection vv.10-11; where John finally begins to reveal that the Logos came to live among us and we completely failed to recognize him! In fact: we rejected his authority in every way possible. John calls the philosophers of the day to an acknowledgement that their "knowledge" actually blinded them from true knowledge. 

but that's not the end: 

In vv. 12-13 John then tells us that by accepting Him we've been remade, reborn, as children of God. Or, as we might extrapolate: as children of The Logos. Essentially John appeals to their pursuits of knowledge and reason by telling them that, if they want to know the true knowledge and possess true reason, they need to know God: and that is done through His work in His son Jesus. The Logos

What does that mean for us though, as we live our lives and come to worship together this Sunday?

In reality we're no different than John's audience in his Gospel. John is telling us a story about people who are seeking the truth and who want to find peace and joy and hope in that truth. As we come together for corporate worship we have been in pursuit of a false logos all week. A false word. As believers we know what the true word is, but our inclination is still to look elsewhere for our hope. John's gospel gives us the true hope by reminding us that we can't find our purpose in anything less than Christ. 

Maybe you were looking for purpose in reason, in philosophy, or in your education. Maybe you've been looking for it somewhere else entirely. Either way, as good as those things might be: they'll never give us a true purpose, and they'll never substitute for the ultimate knowledge of the work of Christ and our salvation through him. As we come together for worship this Sunday lets remind ourselves of how God, The Word, has provided us with hope and satisfaction that nothing else can by giving us a divine purpose that goes far beyond what knowledge we have.