When we gather in weekend worship, we seek to commune with God. But unlike your private devotions, corporate worship is about worshiping God together.

Sharing our mutual love for God in the assembly is one of the great blessings of covenant life. And as we shift our Sunday morning mindset from first and second person singular (I and you) to first person plural (we and us), it impacts how we participate.

Bad Poker Players

One of the things we tell our worship team volunteers is that “bad poker players” make great worship leaders. That’s a bit of a strange sounding analogy, but if you’ve ever lost the remote control and were left watching a poker tournament, you’ll know that part of the skill in that game is concealing emotional excitement or despair. A bad poker player would grin and fluster over the royal flush in her hand, signaling to the opponents, “Watch out! This is a bad bet.” A bad poker player reveals on her face the hope (or lack thereof) in her hands.

But the church holds something infinitely more exciting than ten-to-ace, suited. We are given the keys to the kingdom and million-to-nothing odds that our risks for the gospel are ultimately profitable. As we gather this weekend to look — not at playing cards — but to the word that unveils what great and certain hope we hold, we have a reason to smile. But at church, unlike in poker, our joy does not hang on our ability to conceal our excitement. Rather, it is actually multiplied as we encourage one another with our radiant faces.

Those who look to him are radiant, 
And their faces shall never be ashamed. (Psalm 34:5)

Don’t buy-in to the gamblers ethic that your gains diminish if you blow your cool. Rather, rejoice in the assembly of the righteous, and encourage one another with your thinly veiled exuberance. To be clear, I’m notencouraging us to a fake, contrived glee. Frankly, you need not manufacture a happy face when you see promises like “the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, indeed I have a beautiful inheritance” (Psalm 16:6). But don’t feel compelled to hide it, either!

And since not all of us will see as clearly all the time, your enthusiastic countenance serves to remind of our great hope.

Written by Ryan Shelton
Read more at Desiring God

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