Preparing for Worship: Communion & Vocation

Preparing for Worship: Communion & Vocation

John Haralson   •   June 16, 2017

Spiritual life flows out of union with Christ, not merely imitation of Christ.
Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Dear Friends,

I have spent this week in North Carolina at our denomination’s annual meetings. In addition to enduring some tedious and, at times, infuriating debates about denominational policies, I got to spend some time with life-long friends and meet some new ones.

One of the great gifts of being part of a denomination is that I have come to know a number of ministers for whom I have a great deal of love and respect. By being around them, I get inspired by getting an up close glimpse into the kind of people they are and see how they are trying to faithfully lead God’s people. 

We all need flesh and blood examples of people who are a step or two ahead of us in the life of discipleship so we can, to some degree, patterns aspects of our lives after them.

In Luke 6, we get a glimpse into the humanity of Jesus. He has a huge decision in front of him: Which of his many followers should he choose to become the apostles―a group of men that will form the bedrock of the people of God?

Apparently, this was not an easy decision for Jesus to make. He didn’t have a hand-written list that he brought with him from heaven when he took on human flesh and became one of us. 

Instead, he spent all night in prayer. In the middle of a decision where he needed guidance, strength, and empowerment, Jesus turned to the Father and spent hours in deep fellowship, asking for and receiving help. 

As we see from Jesus’ example, being fully human means living a life of dependent communion. It means instinctively turning to the Father and pouring out our hearts and circumstances to him, and asking him to reveal the way to us. One of the simplest and most profound prayers we can pray is this:

          Father, please help me.

And here is the sweet reality of the Lord’s kindness to us. We’re not just given an example of a praying life that Jesus lived and then commanded to go out and try to reproduce that in our lives in our own strength. Rather, as we cultivate lives of prayer and communion with God, we are, by faith, cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit. 

To be a Christian means that we are now in union with Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, all things that are Christ’s (even his deep spiritual instinct to turn to the Father in prayer) are being shared with us. Through the gracious and lifelong process of sanctification, we are now being formed into men, women, and children who live lives of dependent communion. 

This means that God isn’t just turning us into people who pray. He is transforming us into prayerful people.

This week: Communion & Vocation, Luke 6:12-16.

Liturgy is here

I hope to worship with you.

Warmly in Christ,

John