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Worship?  Christmas Eve 2018

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  • Worship?**Christmas Eve 2018

    Glen sent me this email:

    Glen B Smith
    To:Lou Newton

    Dec 25 at 11:09 PM

    Worship? Christmas Eve 2018



    Far be it from me to judge another’s worship experience. However, I will judge how that worship experience affects the life of the believer on Monday mornings. Such a bold assertion is made because I observed and participated in worship that changed behavior for the rest of the week. When God shows up and the worshiper communes with Him, what is eternal emerges from what is temporal. Eternal reality supersedes the here and now.



    This reflection back to what once was is precipitated by this Christmas Eve service and those watched on television. My observation and experience is:

    how flat are the Christmas carols sung,

    the emotionless reading of prerecorded prayers,

    reading of the Incarnation without a sense of awe,

    and the participation in consuming the bread and wine without communion with the Father.



    All this represents perfect religion – those aspects of every religion as the duty of the worshiper. Surely, such religious participation must somehow affect how some worshipers live the next day?



    More than four decades ago, I stand in an eight hundred capacity sanctuary where the isles and vestibule are packed while others stand outside on the front steps. Some worshipers have driven from over a hundred miles to be here. The programed worship is due to start at 11:00.

    It is now 10:35.



    Someone begins to sing Hallelujah - not the Hallelujah composed by Buddhist Leonard Cohen but the Hallelujah by Andraé Crouch:



    Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah,

    Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah,

    Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah



    Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Jesus;

    Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Jesus;

    Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Jesus;

    Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Jesus; Thank you, Jesus;



    Row after row of worshipers rise to their feet. There are worshipers on their face before the Lord – in the isles, at the altar, and in the vestibule. Dozens and dozens are sobbing. The spontaneous singing of other hymns follows. Do you know what just happened?



    At 11:00 the choir enters. The pastor and others appear from their prayerful preparation. They enter with wide grins on their faces and walk across the front with their arms spread while shaking their heads in amazement. God showed up an no one will ever be the same.



    It is after 1:15 before hardly anyone realizes we are still standing.

    No one is the same on Monday morning nor are the communities where they live. These worshippers can do nothing without speaking about Jesus to everybody. Christ in them changed everything.
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