My friends in Christ, have you ever marveled over how two or three people can hear or witness something and have completely different recollections of what in truth took place. Have you ever wanted to shake the living daylights out of a friend or spouse or relative and say…”Are you kidding me, that’s not at all what happened.” I am reminded of how stark peoples perspectives are when I switch from one news outlet to another. Sometime I wonder if people in the media even live on the same planet because the worldviews and perspectives on reality are so completely at odds. It’s taken some time but I have gotten to a place in my life where I expect and often invite a variety of perspectives. I somehow think that when wisdom loving, God loving people collectively seek truth; that their varying perspectives on reality will inform and eventually enrich one another in enriching ways.
A parent described how her three children would respond to a spider web in the garden. The first child would examine the web and wonder how the spider wove it. The second would worry a great deal about where the spider was. And the third would exclaim, “Oh, look! A trampoline!” (The third child reminds me of myself.) There was only one spider in the garden, only one reality. But it was perceived differently by three very different children.
When it comes to our worship attitudes and habits, there are many different perspectives. Regardless of our individual attitudes and habits regarding worship, the Scripture continually addresses the importance of meeting together for praise, fellowship, instruction, and the support of one another in Christian love. Whether in a cathedral or a cottage, how wonderful it is to join together with brothers and sisters who are seeking God. Coming together for worship can provide healing and restoration of spirit, mind, and focus. Perspective often changes as gathered Christians seek God together. No wonder the Scripture commands and commends us to “not forsake the assembly.”
What is it about being among heartfelt believers that is so helpful and encouraging? For one thing, it reinforces the strength of our faith. Left alone, we may drift away from a passionate pursuit of loving God. But when we enter into the Lord’s house and see our fellow believers coming together, often our doubts disappear and an interest is restored. We say to ourselves: “Here are people who think the Christian life is worth continuing with. Here are people striving to live in communion with their Maker. Maybe I should release some of my doubts and hesitations and get on board—there must be something in it after all.”
The mere existence of the Church is a decisive affirmation that the living Christ is in our midst. Think of the tempest the Church has weathered through many centuries. Think of the persecutions through which it has victoriously come, and think about the fact that every generation has had those who work to bring its downfall…yet the church still stands in all its various forms…and with all its various perspectives.