Rev'd Charles - July & August 2017

posted 4 Sep 2017, 05:58 by Richard Jones   [ updated 4 Sep 2017, 05:59 ]

View From the Vicarage  -  Why Worship? 

            It’s a fair question because so many of us do it. Whether it’s a football team, a loved one, our family, the car or even our job, worship is a common experience. But what is special about Christian Worship?

            It is Personal not Private. The question Jesus asked Simon was, ‘Do you love me?’ Not, do you believe in me, or agree with me or even like me. But do you personally ‘love me’ (John 21). And if the answer is yes then that love for Jesus is to spill out into a love for others (Matthew 28).

            It is Christ Centred not Self-Centred. ‘Why do you call me Lord, Lord,’ said Jesus ‘and do not do what I tell you?’ (Luke 6).  In worship we seek to hear God’s voice through the reading of the Scriptures and through the faithful and practical exposition of the Word of God. Indeed Paul writes, ‘Faith comes from what is heard and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ’ (Romans 10:17). So Christians are disciples – literally learners, people who are willing to learn from the Master (John 3, 6) and then, with God’s help, put that learning into practice (Romans 12).

            It is Spiritual not Superficial. ‘True worshippers,’ said Jesus ‘will worship the Father in spirit and truth’ (John 4). As we open our hearts and minds prayerfully to God, so the Holy Spirit begins to transform us from within giving us a new sense of joy and peace (Galatians 5) ‘for where the Spirit of the Lord is present there is freedom’ (2 Corinthians 3) – freedom to praise and enjoy worshipping God because our hearts and lives have been warmed by the love of God.  Not surprisingly, worship like that is both attractive and infectious! And finally Christian worship

            Is a Relationship not a Ritual. For some, worship appears to be little more than a series of do’s and don’ts. You must say this and you mustn’t do that. But all our service books and hymn books are ephemeral – none are eternal. Only Jesus Christ is the ‘same, yesterday, today and forever ‘ (Hebrews 13). It is God alone who does not change (Malachi 3).

            For the Bible says, we are put right with God, not by repeating the words of a man-made service to the letter (Matthew 15), but by responding to Jesus with the heart. For it is through repentance and faith that we are able, by the grace of God, to be welcomed into the family of God – a family in which we can call God our Father (Romans 8) and know Jesus as our Saviour (Romans 5). And without that relationship we will be unable to pray the prayer that Jesus taught us and mean it (Matthew 6).

            So worship – from the old English ‘weorthscipe’ –  to give worth to something. What does worship mean to you? Is the object of your worship worthy of worship? And if you claim to be a Christian then what part does God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit play in your worship?

            Some years ago a famous Archbishop, William Temple (1881-1944), said these words, ‘To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.’

While more recently Pastor Rick Warren, author of the best selling book ‘The Purpose Driven Church’,  has written, ‘in genuine worship God’s presence is felt, God’s pardon is offered, God’s purposes are revealed and God’s power is displayed’. May that be true for us.