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Friday, March 15, 2013

Worship and the Recovery Group

One of the 'differences' between a 12 Step Group and the Church, we are often told, rests on the matter of worship.  A recovery group does not offer worship of God, whereas a church does.

This is not entirely true.  After all, what group does not offer praise to God for His mercy in giving the addict freedom and a new life?  What group does not speak the truth about His love and care?

Yes, there is no singing or or recitations from the Bible, but many of the elements are there to say that 12 Step groups do engage in a type of 'low-key' worship of God by speaking the truth about Him and praising Him... just without all the religious code-words.

Aside from missing the vocabulary we generally use to praise God, what else is missing?

First, the God of AA and the Steps is an anonymous God, known not by name but by action.  Therefore, God is nameless and a veil of separation exists between the recovering addict and the Divine that cannot be drawn back within the group, but only in the Church.

Second, true worship of God is this:

Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.  You worship what you do not know; we worship what we 
know, for salvation is from the Jews.  But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers 
will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."
The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when He comes, he will show us all things."
Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He." (John 4:21-26)

The worship of the group is not yet complete in that the Spirit of God does not yet rest within the group.  That is not to say that the Spirit is not with the group.  I would argue that it is in most cases, yet it is not the same as the group being the Body of Christ in which the Spirit dwells completely and fully manifests the Christ within its members.

The veil of separation is there.  This is not a veil of false ideas, but an incompleteness, just as the Jews had in their worship of God without the Christ who 'will show us all things.'


  1. I truly love and enjoy your blog. I am a recovering alcoholic and an Orthodox Christian. My hope is to one day start a non profit or an outreach for at risk youth. And hope to provide the keys of sobriety through Christ. Keep up the good work

    1. I'm glad this site is helpful, and I hope that God makes this plan work out. There's a lot we can do, and should be doing.