Yesterday I took a break and went to the gym. I have been attending erratically over a few years, undertaking the same ritual of exercises – occasionally increasing expectations. One routine involves lateral pulldowns. Sitting down, I reach up for the weights and pull them down to my chin. Gradually I have increased the weights, and felt some progress.
As I worked away, a trainer interrupted me. “Do you mind if I say something?” he said, (already having interrupted!) “Not at all,” I replied. “Well, you are not using the machine properly. Do you mind me sitting down?" he asked. Replacing me, he explained, and modeled, how utterly wrong my stance was. "You need to sit upright with head slightly tilted, and pull down the weights vertically. You are pulling outwards and the weights just won’t help your muscles, " he said, while adding: “Probably, you need to decrease the weights as you try again.” Rather self-consciously I began pulling afresh. Yes, it felt completely different. Other muscles between my shoulder blades were complaining. “Now, it’s helping you properly,” he said.
I marveled at this appropriate reminder. Christian development doesn’t just happen. Old habits have to be unlearned and new ways of living need intentional development. To grow as God’s person, with others, requires time, consistency and commitment together. People do not learn to be forgiving, show grace or live with integrity without long-term shaping worship. And churches do not learn to be missionary communities without such worship.
This experience coincided with current work on how worship actually shapes people into belonging in God's community. Perhaps, I can post some ideas for your feedback?