Written by Charles Miller on October 15, 2021.
And so are we gathered here, uniquely in all of history, we particular people in this singular time and place. Accomplish your purposes among us, O God. –Every Moment Holy
Alliance Bible Fellowship gathered the evening of October 8 for a Night of Worship, an event that marked the end of a long season when many such gatherings have felt foreign and tenuous.
COVID-19 has done what all crises do–driven us either toward God in faith or toward our own understanding and a culture of fear. Alliance leadership has reminded us these last months what God calls us to do in such situations, which is to exercise wisdom and compassion but also to worship Him. The Night of Worship was a recalibration of sorts.
“A night of worship prepares us for a life of worship,” Hunter Coultrap reminded participants Friday night. “Romans 12:1-2 reminds us that our lives are to be presented to God in worship.”
As believers, given new hearts with new desires, our attention and awe should be pointed toward the Source of every beauty and every good thing–the triune God. The famously underquoted Puritan writer Richard Sibbes once wrote, “The whole life of a Christian should be nothing but praises to God.”
A Purposeful Gathering for the Purpose of Remembering
The opening prayer for the evening, a liturgy from the book Every Moment Holy, placed appropriate weight on the importance of actually gathering at a particular place and time outside the normal rhythms of life and church to seek God and His will together.
“And so are we gathered here,
uniquely in all of history, we particular
people in this singular time and place.
accomplish your purposes among us, O God.”
And we were invited to remember Friday that God is indeed among us in Jesus Christ–the Word made flesh as–as recounted in John 1:1-8, one of a number of scripture passages recited during the gathering.
While of course the song sets, the spoken word pieces, the liturgies and scripture passages were thoughtfully selected and masterfully performed–with cool displays, backdrops and even a little haze–the evening was designed with God and His Gospel as the focal point.
“We’re not trying to create a concert,” said Hunter. “Our hope would be that all the production and technology would fade to the background as we sing and worship together as a church body. We want to behold Christ. To have our affections directed toward Him, to experience freedom from ‘cultural’ Christianity and to become more like Jesus when we leave.”
A Purposeful Gathering in Preparation for Battle
Together we sang those words “Sing hallelujah/The battle is won” and the truth is, that’s another reason we sing and why the people of God have made singing and music a part of their battle strategy when facing temptation or persecution or spiritual attack.
It’s no coincidence that David, the warrior king, was also a prolific poet. It’s no surprise that Paul and the other disciples started to hold a worship service in the darkness of a prison cell. Worshipping God together through singing brings light to a situation and brings strength to the mind and body.
Francisco Afanador attended the Night of Worship with his wife and three kids, a gathering he said that felt like a necessary response to recent trials and uncertainties in his own life. “We’re kind of in a season of praying and waiting,” Francisco said. “Being here tonight felt like a need. A need to find comfort and strength by coming humbly before God to worship him.”
Learn more about Alliance Worship by visiting abfboone.org/worship.