January 04, 2014

Building a Community of Worship

Ezra 3

All the people gave a great shout of praise to the LORD, be-cause the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
—Ezra 3:11


Sporting events are often great places to build community among people. I remember when the 1980 Olympic USA hockey team defeated the heavily favored Russian team to win the gold medal. We were all instant hockey fans.

Today’s verses reveal how restored worship for an exiled people deepened their communal lives. The exile community became a God-centered people when they worshiped together. God had to be first in their lives, no matter what. The priests started by building “the altar of the God of Israel.” Ezra stated, “Despite their fear of the peoples around them, they built the altar on its foundation and sacrificed burnt offerings on it to the LORD.” Then the carpenters and bricklayers began building God’s house for the purpose of worship. And then the priests—responsible to lead God-honoring worship—went into action. When the foundation of God’s house was complete, they worshiped God with singing and shouts of joy. They sang, “He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever.” They were a community of worship.

Community comes when we join others in the acts and actions of worship. How are you preparing yourself for worship? Do you yearn to give the Lord all of your praise? Do you seek to join fellow believers of the Lord Jesus in worship?

Lord, I need to worship with others because I belong to a holy community. Help me to enter the spacious world of your blessing, grace, and forgiveness when I meet with other believers in Christ. Amen.

About the author — Reginald Smith

Dr. Reginald Smith is senior pastor at Roosevelt Park Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he has served for seventeen years. He has also served as a pastor in Paterson, New Jersey. He and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, Janelle, Katrina, and Mariah.

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