Some of God’s instructions require obedience by individuals. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” is directed to individuals. “Honor your father and your mother” needs to be fulfilled by individuals. Being part of a group that obeys these instructions falls short of the intent.
“[L]et us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together ….” requires a group. I cannot experience by myself all that God wants me to experience.
Worship should occur in individual hearts and in groups. “I will sing of the mercies of the LORD” (Psalm 89:1) and “O come, let us sing to the LORD.” (Psalm 95:1)
“Sing to the LORD with the harp…with trumpets and the sound of a horn ….” (Psalm 98:5-6) I don’t think God intends that every Christian learn to play a harp and a trumpet. But I think our church culture should produce someone who plays a harp and someone who can play a trumpet. Our current church culture is producing numerous skilled athletes but few who can play a harp or trumpet. Hmmm.
“Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet …the lute … stringed instruments and flutes …with loud cymbals ….” (Psalm 150: 3-5). A few decades ago it was rare for a small church not to have one or two people who could play the piano. Today, rare is a church without a drummer.
Perhaps the emergence of electronic reproduction acceptably reduces the call for in-house trumpeters and harpists. Any congregation with a sound system can sing along with a band.
Come to think of it, we can download the finest Bible expositors and experienced counselors, and fellowship via Skype and Facebook. We’re good to go! Eventually we can be fed through a tube, breathe with a ventilator, and replace pondering with computer intelligence.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.