Unceasing Worship, part 3

Posted: 22nd October 2007 by ElShaddai Edwards in Uncategorized
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3229.jpgPreface: see Introduction, Part 1 and Part 2 for earlier posts in this “book review” series.

Chapter 3 of Harold Best’s “Unceasing Worship” is titled “Mutual Indwelling: The Final Geography of Worship” and moves the text from discussing the time and place of worship in Christ to mutual worship within the corporate body.

Best begins with ruminations on the word “in” and what it means to be in something, e.g. in love, in music, in Jesus, etc. versus simply knowing of or about something. The point boils down to a restatement of Best’s concept of continual outpouring in that “we are either in Christ or outside of him.” Being outside Christ is to be lost and “lostness in a choice demanding an exchange of gods as outpouring continues. If we have chosen to be outside of Christ, then we are “in Satan.”

Best then examines how, by being in Christ, we are exposed and a part of a network of relationships: God in Christ, Christ in the Spirit, Spirit in Christ, Christ in God, Christ in us, we in Christ, God in Christ as Christ is in us, the Spirit in us in Christ in us, Christ all in all, all that we can be in Christ, etc. Essentially the relationships between the Trinity become our relationships. He notes that we are presently in heaven inasmuch as Christ rules in heaven and we are in Him and He in us.

Christ, then, is always in us. Any distance we feel between ourselves and Christ is distance that we’ve created, not any change in his indwelling in us.

“If I walk afar off, as I am prone to do, the distance between us does not disturb his indwelling. It simply reminds me of how I have distanced myself from his constant withinness. Repentance, therefore, is not an invitation for Jesus to come back in, once more or again and again, but to shrink down my self-created distance from him within me.” (p.51)

For Best, the indwelling of Christ in believers makes us all members or indwellers of each other as a corporate body. Our worship as the body of Christ leads to a sharing of grief and joy, not external or objectified, but mutually experienced.

Best builds his argument by constructing a three-part temple: temples within temples within a Temple. Christ is the eternal dwelling place, the Temple, but also the cornerstone of the church, God’s building (1 Cor 3:9). Within the church, each member is a temple, in which Christ comes to dwell. So there the temples of individuals with the temples of churches, all within the Temple of God in Christ. “Christ-in-us-in-each-other is the spiritual glue by which even the most easily riven and bleeding fellowship is held together.” We don’t have to be perfect for Christ to tabernacle in us since his cleansing grace binds us to Him, individually and corporately.

Best concludes this chapter with some thoughts on mutual indwelling and the sacrament of the Lord’s table. He accepts the diverse range of approaches, meanings and actions that have been used if at the core, he understands the fact of the Eucharist as “Christ in me even as he is in his church.” The purity and constancy of his indwelling is unchanged by our doctrinal impositions as long as we head Paul’s requirement of self-scrutiny, repentance and surrender before partaking and being crucified within Christ, risen within Christ and seated in the heavenlies with Christ.

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