And yet, it seems much more than traditional or cultural that we, as a body, worship God when we are together. Worship seems entirely natural at the assembly. Indeed, we’d struggle to imagine an assembly without worship — in the traditional sense of the word. But when corporate worship becomes authentic, when it’s an extension of our Christianity outside the auditorium and preparation for further worship outside the auditorium, the theology works and the riddle disappears. There is little contrast between the church assembled and the church on mission. The assembly is simply a part of the church’s honoring of Jesus. I conclude, therefore, that the assembly should always be connected to the life of the congregation in God’s mission. It’s a serious mistake, I think, to so ritualize the assembly that it’s the same whether the church is alive or dead. Rather, the assembly should be an intensification of who we are outside the assembly.

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