Why We Gather (Redeeming Sunday Gatherings, pt.1)

The gods we worship write their names on our faces; be sure of that. And a man will worship something ... That which dominates will determine his life and character. Therefore it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've been thinking a lot about how the Sunday Worship Gathering is undervalued and devalued in our San Francisco culture.   I ran my personal Sunday Gathering numbers over the past 20 years and realized there is a 96% chance I will gather together with believers to worship this Sunday.    This pushed me into a time of reflection, asking myself, “Why do I religiously engage this practice of Sunday Worship?”  

 

 Why We Gather with Our Extended Family on Sundays and Worship.

Sunday is the day that God Raised Up Jesus From the Grave.   By gathering on a Sunday I am proclaiming to my neighbors and city that Jesus is alive.  The simple act of meeting together with others sends a signal, a beacon of hope and celebration.   Just as the assembly of Pride Parade is a way for the LBGTQ community to declare its values and beliefs and just as Bay-To-Breakers is a way for the City to celebrate its values and beliefs, so Sundays are a way for the followers of Jesus to gather and through an act of public assembly declare the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  The first Christians always gathered on the first day of the week, usually early in the morning, to remember Jesus' Resurrection--since he was raised on the first day of the week.

 Sunday is the Eighth Day of Creation.    By gathering on a Sunday I am celebrating, demonstrating, and displaying where heaven is currently meeting earth—in the hearts of the people of God.   The future is present and can be seen in the miracles and stories of life-transformation, salvation, radical deliverance, unconditional love, and freedom.    The early Christians re-interpreted the first day of the week as an eighth day of creation--resurrection.  This eighth day was a way of embracing the hope that anything was possible when God's Kingdom is "on earth as it is in heaven."

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Sunday Represents the First in Priority Over the Other Six Days.   By gathering with other believers on the First Day of the week to hear God’s Word, worship the Resurrected Christ, and give some of my earnings away I am literally and physically orienting my calendar and my body around seeking “first the Kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33).  I am practicing the kind of obedience to Jesus's teaching that defines what it means to be a disciple (Matthew 28:18-19).

The act of planning to worship on Sundays is worship.  The act of getting ready to gather to worship is worship (e.g. brushing teeth and dressing).  The act of walking to a Muni line or hopping on a bike or strolling up the street with the intention of worshiping Jesus is worship.  Being present with other believers, hugging and embracing, singing and swaying, listening and growing, giving and sharing... all of this is Worship and we become what we worship. 

As Emerson said, "What we are worshiping we are becoming..." I find it redemptive to think that my Sunday Gathering is shaping me into Christ's character and devotion.

 

This Sunday:

  • Bike to Worship Sunday.

  • Raffle from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

  • Acts 10—Angels  , Visions, and the salvation of an Oikos.