Tuesday, September 06, 2005

God Loves a "wroship service"


People have always questioned the value of a worship service… I’ve been to some big churches in my day. I remember specifically going to one worship service and stopping and wondering “is this it? Is this what God wants?” I think I’ve been to so many worship services that it becomes just an “event” to me. I begin to think God must hate them… But then I realize that it’s not the service god hates it’s my stuck up attitude that tells me that it’s only an "event." I loose track of the reality that lies within what we call a “worship service.” Then I begin to see it again that God loves His peoples worship.

I think if you understand symbolism, community, and tradition our "events" called worship services hold very real value to God and are powerful.

They can become shallow, yes, but the truth they represent, their symbolism is deep if you let it be deep. If it stays trapped in a room of a church and in time then yes, they're meaningless. But if we allow them to break through the church doors and continue in our daily lives then I whole heartedly believe that God loves them.

The community aspect is also beautifully powerful... Gods people gathered in His name is honored in scripture. God loves it.

And let’s not forget tradition... For generations’ people’s lives have been changed through the gathering of worshippers. It’s a tradition that’s been passed down to us that we may enjoy and celebrate it… should we just throw it out?

People have questioned the idea of worship gathering for generations. If you think we’re the first ones to wonder if God values them then you’re wrong. God does indeed hate empty gatherings, prideful gatherings, and hypocritical gatherings. He despises fake worship, worship that has nothing to do with life… He hates it. But let us not forget that “worship service” is only a name given to a huge concept that is powerful when it’s done and lived out. If it was just a single “event” then it wouldn’t really be worthy of being called a worship service.

When we worship in one of these services we’re not just singing we’re giving all we have to pull forth from its cage all of our love and emotion towards God... and it’s not just you and me doing it it’s us… We’re doing it. We are reaching our hands into a hidden dimension and pulling our hearts from it. Worship is a small flame that we can see that represents a huge fire that we can’t see.

In the words of N.T Wright, "Symbols of the natural world become vehicles of the heavenly world, of which we are called to be citizens."

We must not forget what it really is, a symbol of something great that lasts and goes on and on in our lives. If we forget, then it becomes just an "orchestrated event,” something cheap that comes and goes. When we remember, God loves it. God loves a “worship service…” if that’s what it is.

What do I love when I love my God? Not physical beauty, or the splendor of
time; not the radience of earthly light so pleasent in our eyes; not the sweet
meoldies of harmony and song; not the fragrant smell of flowers, perfumes and
spices; nto manna or honey; not limbs such as the flesh delights to embrace.
These are not the things I love when I love my God.

And yet, when I love him, I do indeed love a certain kind of light a voice,
a fragrance, a food, an embrace; but this love takes place in my inner person,
when my soul is bathed in light that is not bound by space; when it listens to
sound that time never takes away; when it breaths in a fragrance which no breeze
carries away; when it tastes food which no eating can diminish; when it clings
to an embrace which is not broken when desire is fulfilled. This is what I love
when I love my God." -Saint Augustine


6 comments:

Ashley said...

Wes I think so said it so well, as you always do, but I think it is such an amazing concept that it is not necessairly the gathering itself but the hearts of thoes that come in with cirticizing hearts. I think this is one of my more favorite posts of yours... i am almost at a loss for words, its convicting, but I like it. Thank you so much Wes!

Kim said...

Great post :).

After leaving the traditional church, I returned for a standard Sunday worship service having been "saved" at a charasmatic Vineyard. I had once accused the formal church of being "dead" -- a series of rituals without meaning or life. Imagine my surprise when the standard Invocation of the Holy Spirit actually invoked the Holy Spirit!! It was only then that I realized that the church wasn't dead -- nor was it ever -- it was me that had been dead! Once again filled with the Holy Spirit, I was able to worship God along with the body of believers -- wherever I might find them.

Yes, I agree, I know that I know that I know, that God loves the worship of His people.

Praise God, in all situations.

jeff said...

Corporate worship is most effective when it is an extension of individual daily worship. It is most blessed when, instead of coming to church to worship, we come to church worshipping. (I think Matt Redman said that...)

WES ELLIS said...

quote woth keeping, Jeff.

Pastor Art said...

Worship and prayer has been central through out my years as a believer. When I first came to Christ in my ignorance as a baby I was a Catholic hating, predestination, reformed type. Then I meet my wonderful wife who grew up one of those misguided in name only undercover pagan idol worshiping works salvation Catholics. At lest that’s what the reformed guys say anyway and in those days I was one of them. She right away began to strip the cataracts from my eyes. Then came the heavy blow to my misguided propagandized mind, meeting her aunt. This women had been a nun for 70 years taught Latin and theological subjects as a professor for many years.

She and her traveling companion, she still followed the needing to be out in public in pairs rule, sat me down and began caring for Maryellen. This meant finding out if she had married outside the faith. If they had rubber hoses I did not see any but when they were done with me I knew I had just been through the inquisition and lived. They knew their stuff every bit of it Scriptural. I sweat blood that day. Was that worship? I think so we talked about the true God His work in my life His ways and what that meant.

My next eye opener came at the Baptism and 1st Communion of my sister - in law. As an adult through great personal tragedy she came to faith. The day was a high Easter Mass. Incense, robes, pipe organ, full choir, procession and all the other sensual stimuli heightening the awe of Yahweh’s presence and communion with us celebrating the covenant signs of this woman’s new life in Christ.

The heavy slap in the face of the teaching I held on to about faith and worship was completely driven from me with the interaction between her and the Priest. The priest had been instructing - discipling her about turning her life over to Jesus in so doing she would be born again washed clean from her sin acted out or enacted if you will with the Baptism including public confession of Christ and get this, renouncing of Satan from her life ( find that in the 4 spiritual laws ) Then dressed in white a picture of the bride of Christ she now washed clean from her sin, receives Holy Communion as a new creature in Christ and as I remember it with instruction of the meaning as betrothal waiting for Jesus’ return. I felt the presence of Yahweh there at that time as intensely as at any other time and much more then in so called anointed times since.

Worship, does it have a form is it a free for all does our God want us to approach Him any which way? Is Yahweh a King? Are we court jesters, as the fool speaking at the party and disregarded as such? In a free for all attention is not centered on anything or any one but indiscriminately attracted by whim. In the prescription of order, focus is on important actions at hand, our King! Therefore the catch phrase on the lips of many these days of taking worship out side of the walls of the Church becomes redundant when worship is not understood as the drawing attention away from distractions and unto the King. Because weather or not we do this in a particular room or other setting once we allow the distractions of the free for all to capture us worship has stopped and the party has begun. We are told in Deut. That we are to teach about Yahweh in the activities of our lives and this we are to do with diligence, that means focused attain on our King and His relationship to any activity we are participating in Deut. 6:4f. That would seem to be Biblical instruction on “worship” outside the walls!?!? Would it not this is not something new but part of the ancient paths Jeremiah speaks about Jeremiah 6:16.
Pastor Art

Teresa said...

I have had meaningful, spiritfilled worship in large groups, events, and then in very small groups. It has to do with our own hearts being close to God all week long and then it is almost a celebration of what He is doing and giving it back to Him. Then again, I have been brought to my knees and convicted by my lack of fellowship with God in a worship setting. God moves when we are together. There is something about the body of Christ, large or small worshipping the Lord together that moves us and God.