Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Discover the Meaning of Worship

I wanted to share some thoughts I had regarding worship, our ministry context and the issues we need to be addressing as the church in western culture.

For what it is worth here are some thoughts:

Given the whole…I think our understanding of worship is wrong when we come together on a Sunday morning. I am so guilty of this myself but, I am finding that when I come on Sunday I am ready to receive from God a word or encouragement or something that will carry me through from one week to the next. I find myself saying things like "Wow the singing really blessed me this morning" or "I got a lot out of the sermon this week" or "I was really challenged/ encouraged by this or that". It is all about what I get out of our corporate time.

This is the complete opposite of what worshiping God is. Worship is what we give to God to celebrate Him. It is what we offer to Him for His glory and purpose; to declare His greatness and goodness. What I get out of it is inconsequential and entirely irrelevant. What matters is whether or not I have made an offering to the Lord that attributes His worth and that He finds pleasing and acceptable.

What would happen if, one Sunday morning, we told people that they had to come to church prepared to give something to God and the focus of that offering was the glory of God Himself. Not how much better off I am and how good my life is or what I get out of being in a relationship with God but rather a praise, declaration and celebration of who God is what He has done, how He is mighty and good, etc. What would happen if we said there was going to be no “planned” singing, sermon or church program at all but rather each person had to come Sunday morning to present to God an “offering” of some kind where He was the sole focus; i.e. a song, poem, praise/ testimony, prayer, tithe… you get the idea. As I read in God’s Word that He inhabits the praises of his people, I can not help but think this is more of what He has in mind rather than the “church” we do/ have each Sunday. I know this sounds radical but I think there is something to all this.

I am going to stop now before I run the risk of ranting.

I would absolutely love to get your reaction to this perspective and how it would change not only our worship but our relationship with the living God Himself as we discover the meaning of worship!!


Anonymous said...

I love your perspective on worship! Worship is about recognizing God as creator, redemeer and all of His attributes. We are so selfish to thing that if we don't receive a blessing that day, or if we should go looking for blessings when we worship, we are dulfully wrong.

I plan on using your words to teach children what the true meaning of worship is. You've been a great help. The Lord used you!

As you worship Him, remember that He requested the seventh-day to worship Him. Study which day that is and it will enhance your connection with the Almighty. He is specific and wants our true worship. When we listen to man and not God we are not worshipping Him.

Anonymous said...

I think your argument is flawed because in the end the only true value in worship must be the changes in us as worshippers.

I cannot imagine that God benefits in any way from our worship. I cannot imagine that He cares, or that he is moved in any way whether we adore him or worship him. Nor do I think that we can offend God. In my view, this lowers God too much, makes God too human, makes him too vulnerable, and too imperfect.

And frankly it makes us correspondingly much larger than we are.

I think the whole notion of worship is based on an aristocratic model of human society. Being a king or the top dog of a human society is fraught with insecurity. So there is value to a king when the king is honored, venerated, and worshipped by his subjects. And through the act of worship, the subjects "secure" the beneficial regard of the king, who might otherwise do them harm.

We must depart from this dynamic.

In the end, we honor, i.e. worship God and his creation because we want to improve ourselves. We want to create in ourselves a deeper appreciation of what it means to live.