Updated: Feb 18, 2020
In worship God calls his people into his presence so that he can cleanse their hearts, renew their love for him, and refresh their vision of reality. The bit of reality that this teaching makes us mindful of is that this world of sound, sight, and sense is not all there is: God is the one who made it, who rules it, and who has the power to keep his promises to his people (Collins, page 74).
Corporate Worship Cleanses and Renews
If Dr. Collins is correct about what happens in worship–and I believe he is–then corporate worship must not be considered something Christians can take or leave at their leisure. We’re called to acknowledge that we need to be cleansed and renewed. We sin; we fall miserably short in our love for God. Too often our tendency is to view this as “no big deal.” But the truth is that it’s a very big deal. As we enter into His presence acknowledging our sin, God is merciful and gracious. He cleanses and renews us according to the finished work of Christ.
Corporate Worship Refreshes Our Vision of Reality
But Dr. Collins highlights another reason corporate worship is indispensable. In worship we refresh our vision of reality. The above quote implies that everything is not well with our functional conception of the world. We tend to view the world in a way that is inconsistent with reality. We are prone to live as though God isn’t really there. We are tempted to go about our lives as though God doesn’t rule over the universe. Consequently we live as though self, someone else, or some thing rules over us. All too often we exclude God from our thinking, from our evaluations, and from our decision-making.
One of the most important things that happens in worship, and corporate worship in particular, is that God renews our vision of reality. He trains us to look at the world truly. We need this renewal more than most of us care to admit. We have an anemic view of God’s relationship to the world and to our lives. If God is who He says He is, we cannot continue to conceive of Him as a helpful ad-on to enhance our already well-lived lives. God isn’t a cosmic accessory that perfects our already attractive ensemble. He isn’t merely the one missing player that will push us over the top so that we can win the Super Bowl. As we worship the Lord, He helps us to discard our impoverished view of Him, and in so doing, He trains us to see the world more accurately.