Wrestling with Angels
"In the church," Webber concluded, "singing is hospitality."
I've been in churches where the singing (not to mention the praying and preaching) is impressive and professional, but not hospitable. Those services have been more of a show than a family reunion, more a presentation than a meal together at a life-giving table. They have been effective to a point, but they haven't held a candle to hospitable churches that use every resource available (from the church's architecture to its care in establishing and teaching its liturgies in any style) to make each person included and sure of her part.
Hospitality matters because every time we worship together, we are drawn not only into our particular community, but also into the community of angels and saints who are always praising God. Even better, we are being reminded that we are included in the circle of fellowship between the Father, Son, and Spirit. The Son is the true worship leader who helps us express our thanks to the Father, the phenomenally hospitable God who invites us to make ourselves at home with him.
Church is powerful when it embodies this inclusion—much like our hospitable friends did on our recent family vacation. When church is like that, it becomes the home away from home where we offer each other a place to reunite, be fed, commune, wash, rest, and receive what we need for the road.
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More Christianity Today articles by Carolyn Arends are available on our site.
Previous Christianity Today articles on hospitality include:
The Power of Hospitality | How to win over enemies and influence people. (June 1, 2006)
My House, God's House | Hospitality is not merely good manners but a ministry of healing. (April 23, 2001)
Previous articles on worship include:
A Middle Way | There's a third side in the worship wars. (December 3, 2009)
God Is Not the Object of Our Worship | He is the subject who forms us as we sing, tell, pray, and enact God's story in worship. (April 30, 2007)
Wrestling with Angels
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