Parishioner: “Pastor, I’m just not getting anything out of worship.”
Pastor: “I’m SO sorry! There’s been a terrible misunderstanding. We’re not worshiping YOU.”
Worship isn’t about getting. It’s about giving. Our worship is our coming before God and worshipping him who is worthy of all praise.
Worship is also not about style—style varies dramatically from culture to culture and era to era. It’s about substance. Consider this passage from a time and culture far removed from our own:
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. 2 Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. 5 And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. 7 The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!” (Isaiah 6:1-8, NRSV)
What principles of worship can you see? Here are a few that stand out to me:
- A sense of holiness and awe before God
- Coming to God with a heart of repentance
- Receiving forgiveness
- Being sent out to the world as a result of our worship of God
What else do you see? How can those principles apply to how you can worship in the context of your own time and culture?