Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
How was your worship yesterday? I am not referencing the service itself, but the actual active worship you brought before the Lord our God? I am talking about the verb form of worship, the only form of worship we see in scripture. Do you see worship as a place you went or something you did?
Recently, our son, Zeke, graduated into the school age Junior Worship offered at our church. Our elementary age kids attend the first portion of the worship service and, then, when it is time for the sermon, they are dismissed to participate in Junior Worship. This has been an adjustment for me. Zeke is what you might call “energetic.” Sitting still for stretches at a time does not exactly come easily for him. My worship now more looks like:
√ two songs
√ dismissal of Zeke to junior worship
In an attempt to teach Zeke about properly worshiping, it turns into a mental checklist instead of focusing on the worship I am bringing before the Lord. Definitely, something I need to work on.
Sometimes, it really does not occur to me how much I am simply going through the motions of the service. Last night we were at the evening service where our kids go to a class geared for them while the adults worship. We came to the song “Sanctuary” when it struck me. The words brought my attention into focus.
Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary
Pure and holy, tried and true
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living
Sanctuary for You
“Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary.” I wondered to myself how many times I had sung those words and really meant them. Was I willing to be “tried and true?” And, after I was “tried and true” would I really be a thankful, living sanctuary? I am human. I have a weak spot for desiring the easy road, not the one that would try me. Was I really willing to offer those words as a form of worship?
The current culture really concerns me when it comes to worship. It is often portrayed as a place we go, not a thing we do. I hear it in comments like “I did not get anything out of worship today.” “I just don’t feel inspired by the service.” It makes me sad.
We really need a wakeup call that worship is not a thing, it is an action. When we attend worship it is about what we are bringing before the Lord. When we miss worship, it is not an event we miss, but an action that we forgo.
Yes, it is nice to leave feeling encouraged, but that comes through the relationships we have within the congregation. Having a sermon that motivates you is awesome, but the motivation to get through a week in this society needs much more than a twenty minute talk on Sunday. If those are the reasons you are attending worship service, you have really missed the point.
Our Christian walk is not a passive one. Our self is not the focus of the journey. That goes against the very nature of being a Christian. When we are baptized, we die to self. Its desires and passions are crucified with Christ. We sacrifice the desire to appease our human desires.
The walk is active and outward focused. What can we offer to God and our fellow man?
Examine the worship you brought before God yesterday? Did you mean the words you sang before the Lord? When you said “Amen” to the prayer, were you truly agreeing to the words said? When you took communion, did you examine yourself and make sure you were appropriately participating?
Were you actively offering something to God or attending an event? Did you leave worrying about what you got out of it or what you put into it?
Next week, take a few moments in the car ride to the worship service and reflect on the activity you are about to do. Prepare to bring the offering of your “self” in submission to God’s authority. Be ready to mean the words that you sing. Come to glorify our creator.
Prepare yourself to worship.
As always, if you have questions, ideas or would like to study further, I am available at TheRefreshingWell@gmail.com.