Where Worship and Mission Intersect

Das SydneyCan there be a more unlikely couple than worship and mission? One is tall and gangly, stretching for the heavens, and the other, hunched over, peering into the shadows, bent under the weight of a needy world. One finds its greatest moments on the mountain top, straining to hear God’s voice or longing to see a vision of cherubim and seraphim and the glory of the lamb. The other is ebullient and raucous, shouting in the marketplace, standing up to other gods, weeping with the broken and heavy hearted. How can the two possibly intersect? Let me share with you an experience that brought them together in a beautiful way.

It was after 11:00 at night, and the lights had been turned down, dishes washed and put away. Earlier we had fed some 50 or more homeless men in the basement of the church. Some had been garrulous and demanding, but now there was an uneasy calm as they slept on their thin mattresses on the gym floor. Looking out from the kitchen, I could see that a few were still tossing and turning. Someone stifled an animal cry, fighting demons from the past.  Many were senseless to the world, sprawled out in the carelessness of sleep. Most were broken people, grateful that somebody cared. I looked up from my reverie and in the darkest part of the hall I saw a translucent form walking softly. He stooped to touch and bless, to pause and soothe, to heal and restore. It was a momentary vision and then it was gone. There was no doubt in my mind that Jesus was there. Tears rolled down my face. What I had longed for in worship I experienced when I had plunged into the thick of human need.

The next day at worship I could sense a deeper urgency in saying to God’s people, “Go into all the world….” I knew Jesus was already in the world in the messy parts of life, his work unfinished. We were only re-discovering his presence anew. Hearing God’s voice in worship had led us to mission, and in the nether worlds of mission was a fresh experience of God, which looped back into fervent worship and adoration. Worship and mission had crossed not in a tense stand-off but in a rich and harmonious melody which is Christian living.

Article by: Das Sydney, Pastor, Highland Baptist Church, Kitchener
Republished from the Fall 2012 issue of the Canadian Baptist.  Read the full issue

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