So, here’s a thought. In times of worship we are often encouraged to focus on the fact that Jesus is with us by His Spirit, yes? And this is an incredible truth because He truly is. But if He loves us so much, why doesn’t He just turn up? Surely that would be a whole lot easier for all of us? I’m not talking of a full blown, worldwide second coming, nothing quite as final as that, just a brief appearance at the occasional gathering on a Sunday. Or, for that matter, any other time.
By this point in the blog most of you will have reacted in some way. You may have wondered quite what I’m on about. How could I be so stupid and so dull of understanding? Perhaps you are even wondering if I’m heading off into some new heresy and asking yourself will you need to contact someone quickly to put me straight before I do any serious damage. But indulge me for a moment; ask yourself why this doesn’t happen.
Here’s what I think.
The Father has given us two gifts to help us here. Firstly, the precious gift of the Holy Spirit, His Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus. This gift is everything that Jesus was on Earth but without His body. So what about the body of Jesus on Earth now? Well it is us of course. We are the body of Jesus on Earth at the moment. When He was on the planet, Jesus partnered perfectly with the Spirit to be the true and complete representation of the Father. It is through our partnership with the Spirit that we become aware of the presence and reality of Jesus and so as a body, we can become better representatives of the Father.
The second gift is that of faith. Faith is the gift that helps us to access all that Jesus’ death on the cross has made available. Without this gift it would be out of our reach but faith allows us to see His will being done on Earth as it is in Heaven. So when we worship ‘in faith’ we are using the gift that God has given us to help us know, experience and live in the reality of Jesus’ presence. So not to use the gift fully is dishonouring, both to the giver and to the recipient.
So, the fact that Jesus does not arrive bodily in all His heavenly glory at 10.15 on a Sunday morning, or any other time come to that, means that we can practice our partnering with the Holy Spirit and exercise the gift of faith that God has given. The more we do this, the better we become at it and the greater the reality of Jesus in our worship. What is even better is that we can do this anytime and anywhere because there are absolutely no restrictions on our capacity to worship and encounter the love and reality of Jesus.
That sounds good to me, I hope that it does to you.