Saturday, February 18, 2006

Big Church

Have you ever wondered why the main meeting in church is called a ‘worship service?’ What exactly is worship? When the people in a church get together they sing songs, pray about stuff together and listen to someone talk about the Bible for a while… now which part of that is worship? To be honest, I grew up in church not even knowing it was called a ‘worship service’ until I was in late Middle School. When you are a kid, you go to Sunday School and after that you go to ‘big church.’ I can still remember looking at the bulletin as if for the first time in about eighth grade thinking, “This thing doesn’t say ‘big church’ anywhere on it… and what in the world is a worship service?!”

I was recently reading about Moses leading God’s people out of bondage in Egypt and how God saved them by parting the Red Sea so that the entire 2.5 million people could walk through on dry land. It was amazing! But before they ever got to the banks of the Red Sea, they had to get out of Egypt. God sent plague after plague down on Egypt but Pharaoh wouldn’t let them go until the last plague hit. During the middle of the night while everyone was asleep, God sent a destroying angel who took the life of every firstborn son, child or animal in every house and every farm. Well… almost every firstborn.

God had always said that the firstborn sons belonged to Him, but this was the first time He claimed His right. The only people who got to keep their firstborns were people who slaughtered a spotless lamb and painted its blood on their doorframes. This animal was dying in their place… buying them back. That’s why the Israelites got to leave with their kids. It was called Passover because the Lord passed over the homes with blood on them and stopped the angel from bringing death. Moses told the people that every year in the first month they had to celebrate the Passover as a holiday, and when giving Moses the instructions about the Passover feast, the Lord said, “No one is to appear before me empty-handed.” (Exodus 23:15)

The Passover holiday was a time of worship where they would bring another lamb and kill it to remember that God owns all of them, and to remember the price that was paid for them. We don’t kill animals in our worship service because all those animals were just a picture of who Jesus is and what He came to do. He died once and for all as a payment for all the wrong of all who will believe in Him. He is our Passover Lamb and when we come together singing songs, praying prayers and listening to the Word of God, it is a time for us to remember the Lamb who was slain. It is a time for us to remember that we belong to God. It is a time for us to offer our whole selves to Him because He owns us and has bought us with His own blood. Don’t appear before Him empty-handed. Offer your whole self to Him.

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