Friday, September 18, 2015: Ezekiel 45-46; Luke 1
9 When the people of the land come before the Lord at the appointed festivals, whoever enters by the north gate to worship shall go out by the south gate; and whoever enters by the south gate shall go out by the north gate: they shall not return by way of the gate by which they entered, but shall go out straight ahead. 10 When they come in, the prince shall come in with them; and when they go out, he shall go out.
These chapters of Ezekiel sound very familiar, don’t they? They are a re-stating of the laws and rules for the people of God that we read when the covenant was first established; and when the original temple was built. This passage above specifically speaks of worship – and I wonder if you caught the subtle implication about the very nature of worship. If you come in one way, you leave a different way. Put in more general terms – you do not leave worship the same way you came in. While the writer may be speaking only in terms of physical logistics, there is a much deeper truth here that reminds us of the transforming nature of worship.
The purpose of worship – the primary reason to worship is to be transformed more and more into the image of Christ for the sake of the world. Thus, when we truly worship we NEVER leave the same way we come in, for we are transformed by the confession of our sins and reception of forgiveness at the table; we are shaped by the Word of God read and preached; we are enriched by the power of community and fellowship; we are unburdened in our prayers; we are reminded in our praise of the power of God.
No wonder Richard Foster wrote, ‘to worship is to change.’