The Ground of the Church and the Meetings of the Churchby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Some may move according to the teaching that we have to keep the same subject in the meeting, without checking with the inner sense. Sometimes, however, the Holy Spirit would lead us in one line and then go on to another line. This is very meaningful. In some meetings I have been in, we were on the line of the Lord’s ascension at the start of the meeting. The flow was very clear, and right away we began in a high way, in ascension; then after one or two hymns and some prayers, there was the sense that the ascended Christ as the heave offering is our enjoyment today. The way to connect these two lines is mostly by prayer. We may pray, “Lord, You are the ascended One enthroned with all authority in the heavens and on the earth. Yet, Lord, You are within us to be enjoyed by us day by day as our food.” Spontaneously, we apply the ascended Christ, the heave offering, as our enjoyment. If we have the proper preparation through learning, the Holy Spirit will move among us in a free way.
I have been in this kind of meeting. As we enjoyed the Lord very much, a sister prayed, “O Lord, the more we enjoy You, the more we are transformed into Your image,” or “The more we enjoy You, the more we are one with You in the heavens.” This kind of prayer brought us into the heavens. Then right away one or two hymns followed this prayer. While we are in the heavens with the Lord, a prayer may follow to say, “O Lord, we are not only on this earth enjoying You as our food and drink, but we are one with You in the heavens.” At such a time, to stay on one subject is like playing one note on an instrument; that is not music. To play different notes on different levels is music.
The practice requires learning and preparation on our part. On the one hand, we can critique our meetings, but on the other hand, I am happy because I see improvement. However, we still have to learn more. The Holy Spirit needs our coordination. If we have the proper preparation, then in the meeting when we see the Lord as the heave offering lifted up to the heavens, spontaneously within us there may be the feeling: “O Lord, You are so high, yet today You are also small, near, and available within us.” In this way we bring the Lord down into our enjoyment. After praying in this way, we can exercise our spirit to choose a hymn about the Lord as food and drink.
Sometimes we may start from the point that the Lord is ascended, glorified, and enthroned, but the Holy Spirit may guide and lead us to review the Lord’s life. We may spontaneously have the deep feeling to say, “Lord, Your glory today reflects Your sufferings in the past.” In this way we come to the cross to see the sufferings of the Lord on the earth. This is very meaningful. We should not think that we always need to be on the line of ascension.
We need to keep these points in mind and put them into practice, especially in the Lord’s table meeting. We must first exercise the inner sense to sense the atmosphere, and then we should exercise our knowledge to do something, to express something, such as choosing a hymn to fit what we sense. One brother may express something, and many others will express the same thing. This is because they are in the flow, having the same feeling.
At the time for passing the bread and the cup, the brothers may be “sleeping” and not ready to function. The right hymn may be lacking, and there may not be the adequate prayers to bring the meeting into the sense that it is time for the bread and the cup to be passed. This forces the same one who started the meeting to function again. That person may be clear about which hymn to call, but he may not be the right person to do it. The right person must do it. It is even wonderful if a younger person would call the hymn. Again, we lack the proper sense and learning. If the members of a basketball team had the adequate learning, they would know how to play the game, and at a certain point they would know the right thing to do.
After someone calls a hymn on life, there may not be the adequate prayers to follow it. When we sing about the love of God or the greatness of God, we have much to say, although this concept of love may not be spiritual but natural. When we sing about life, however, our mouths may be shut. This is our shortage. Hymns, #12 begins, “O God, Thou art the source of life, / Divine, and rich and free! / As living water flowing out / Unto eternity!” This is altogether against our natural concept. Twenty-five or thirty years ago this was a foreign language to me. I did not know what this meant. If we have no concept of what that hymn means, we will not be able to offer a prayer to follow it. Stanza 2 says, “In love Thou in the Son didst flow / Among the human race.” We may know a little bit about love, but we may not know what is meant by Thou in the Son didst flow. In this case, we will not be able to follow the hymn with prayer, because we do not have this kind of concept and understanding. From now on, however, we will learn more and more. Then when we announce and sing this kind of hymn, right away we will have many prayers to follow it and to analyze, enlarge, and develop its meaning.
While we are in the section of the remembrance of the Lord, for someone to direct a prayer to the Father is a disturbance to the flow. Such a use of the title Father is due to our habit of praying in the past. In the same way, in the section of worship to the Father, some use the title Lord in their prayer. To address the Father as the Lord is not a serious mistake, but if possible, it is better to say, “Father.” Generally speaking, when we mention the Lord, we mainly mean the Lord Jesus. Due to our habit in our prayer, it is easy to say “Lord”; it is not our custom to say, “Abba, Father.” We have to learn more, and we have to practice more. Then we will have better meetings, and we will give more cooperation to the Holy Spirit.
How to practice and conduct ourselves in the meetings is a very important matter in the church life. Christians depend very much on the meetings to be edified, perfected, and built up. If we have a living meeting, a meeting that is rich, strengthening, reigning, and in the spirit, then when people come to the meeting, they will be enriched not merely by the message but by the meeting itself. It is in the meeting that there is something living, real, and strong. Therefore, because the church life relies very much on the church meetings, we have to pay our full attention to the meetings in order to practice the church life. A meeting that is poor, low, and weak damages the church life.
In the past two and a half years here in Los Angeles we have come to realize how much the meetings mean to the church life and how much they help people and bring people into the church life. A meeting that is proper, living, reigning, and strengthening attracts people. Once they get into the meeting, they are caught. However, a meeting that is low, weak, dull, and poor will cause people to be despondent after the first time they come. Because the meeting has nothing for them, they will not see any reason to come again.
We may be very spiritual persons, but we still may not know how to handle the meeting. We may not know how to exercise the spirit and behave in the spirit in the meeting. If this is the case, then even if we are spiritual, the poor meeting will damage the church life. We must have the Lord’s table meeting in a proper, living, strengthening, edifying, and attractive way. Once people come into such a meeting, they will be attracted, caught, and edified. Therefore, we all have to learn this one thing. In order to practice the church life, we must learn how to meet together; otherwise, the church can never be built up. We all have to endeavor by the grace of the Lord to bear the responsibility for the meeting by exercising our spirit.
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