The Family at Worship

By Brendan Prout

Adopted Into “The” Royal Family

Family is a term whose importance cannot be understated when it comes to our relationship with God and with others. 

We who are saved by Christ are adopted by God into His family, named as His sons and daughters, and given equal rights as co-heirs to the kingdom as if we stood on equal footing with His son Jesus. As such, we are pronounced as nobility in the most royal family, named as priests in the most royal priesthood. 

That is quite an impressive set of patents of nobility—better than any daydreams inspired by fairy tales in which one finds s/he are secretly of noble birth, because this is absolutely real. By His proclamation in Scripture, God the Father makes us all princes and princesses dwelling in His royal court, noble by adoption in a manner that outshines all earthly feudal bloodlines and relationships. 

The eternal relationship we now have is supremely more important than our temporary earthly relationships. Here in this life we are briefly fathers and mothers, employees and bosses, friends and colleagues; yet eternally we are brothers and sisters and co-laborers in Christ. God help us learn to behave in that manner; after all, we’re going to spend eternity together, so we may as well start trying to get along together now!

The Table as a Display of God’s Heart

Jesus shows us examples of how He wants His family to get along through the many instances of table fellowship showcased in Scripture. It seems like being at the table was Jesus’ favorite place to demonstrate the goodness of God, because just about everywhere you look in the gospels, Jesus was either on His way to a meal, at a meal, or on His way out from a meal! It was a special place where over the breaking of bread, truths were shared, commitments were made, and lives were changed. 

We as worship leaders are privileged to illustrate life as family gathered around the table. To quote my friend Margaret Feinberg, “There’s just something special about table fellowship that displays God’s heart.” At the table we have the opportunity to share not only a meal but our personalities, stories, and love with others. At a family gathering around a meal, even strangers and visitors are welcomed to the table, room is made and a seat is pulled up for them, often the seat of honor. 

In such a manner, our gatherings for worship are very much like fellowship around the table, where we as worship leaders have the opportunity to be table servants (diakonos) and wait upon others, saying to them, “Come taste and see that the Lord is good! Let me hold open the door for you and usher you in to His presence. I’ve already spent time with Him and He is so good! Come on in!” We create an environment where the stranger and refugee would find the comfort and hope of Christ reflected in the welcoming faces around them as we encounter the presence of God. 

As the family of God we need to keep in mind there is always room at the table for one more. 

Even if the family is a little dysfunctional. Even if there’s that weird cousin that we don’t quite know how to relate to. Maybe we’re the weird cousin or the black sheep that doesn’t feel like we belong. But we do. 

Let us make room at the table, both in our gathered worship and in our table fellowship. Both proclaim God’s heart in a beautiful presentation of welcome and grace. 

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