This is #38 in Crossing the Threshold series.
We have finally come to the climax of our series Crossing the Threshold and will begin to weave the story back into worship. We want to see using our imagination the whole story instead of simply going through motions of ritual which we process like pieces of information. More importantly we want to see with the eyes of our heart the person who is the focus of our worship; the one in whom all of ourselves; body, soul, and spirit ought to be centered as we enter his presence. Lastly we want to enter into his Kingdom, his story, his life and have union with him in order that we might be transformed into his image. This is what worship is all about…. so here we go.
We have seen there are four parts to the Hero Journey which is the life of Jesus Christ; the four Acts are: Act I Separation, Act IIA Descent, Act IIB Initiation, and Act III Return. This is his life, his story, his journey it is all about him.
We learned there are four “Acts” to the early church pattern of worship which has been carried on through most Christian denominations, they are: Act I Gathering, Act IIA Word, Act IIB Sacrament, and Act III Sending. This is the life, the story, the journey of his body the church, and it too is all about him.
Act I Separation/Gathering
Just as the hero receives a call to adventure to leave his ordinary world and enter the special world; the church each Lord’s day is invited to leave the world of space, time, and matter and be gathered together to enter the special world of the Kingdom of God….to enter His presence. Refusal of the call is always a possibility; one does not have to go and can remain in the ordinary world or one can go physically but not mentally ; there are always threshold guardians who pop up desiring to subvert the journey and prevent the body from connecting with its head. This is one reason why prayer in preparation for worship is not an option it is a vital necessity.
The opening songs of praise and adoration, along with prayers and the reading of scripture are all led by the Holy Spirit; he is the teacher, comforter, mentor given to the body of Christ to come along side and help them cross the threshold into the presence of their God and King. Just as in the Hero Journey the mentor gives the hero a special weapon; ….the word of God is…sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). The reading of the scripture in a service is powerful and serious, the Holy Spirit is speaking individually and collectively to the congregation with words they need to know for their lives and their mission.