Pam's Paper Blog - October 2016

posted 29 Oct 2016, 23:48 by Richard Jones   [ updated 29 Oct 2016, 23:48 ]
Dear friends,

All this week I’ve been humming the first line of that short hymn: Come, now is the time to worship; and It has had me thinking about what worship actually means. 

According to my dictionary worship is: To show profound religious devotion and respect to; adore or venerate (God or any person or thing considered divine.) But that is not particularly helpful is it? We know we come to church to worship God but what exactly do we mean by it?

I have a rather old book about taking collective worship in schools by John Bailey. As you’d expect he talks about the practical things that are necessary for a good assembly but he also makes a very key point. Good worship involves something out of the ordinary; that assemblies should be a special time which includes an opportunity for spiritual development. He expands this idea by talking about the importance of children being involved in their own collective worship.

It is that key idea of our own involvement in something special that matters. I don’t know about you but sometimes I come to church and my whole attention is somewhere else. I say the prayers and sing the hymns but I might as well not be there. Other times worship is so moving that it brings tears of devotion to my eyes. Certainly what is going on in our own lives will make a huge difference to our time in church. When we’re angry, hurt or heart- broken it can be very hard to feel near to God.

Likewise the quality of those prayers and hymns also matter in making our time in church special. Sometimes the construction of a service can be unhelpful to us. I’m not a big fan of singing those long psalms in Matins yet others find it deeply rewarding. The contents of a sermon can simultaneously inspire and offend different members of the same congregation. The construction of a service is a delicate balance that requires respectful preparation which avoids blandness.

I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve been part of a team leading a service and found that the whole is far greater than each individual part. In the bringing of small pieces by different people God seems to weave something much more special. Here, I think, we have the crux of the matter. True worship is when we come wholeheartedly to meet up together with Jesus who is always there waiting for us. When we come ready to listen, then act upon what we believe and follow him.

As Paul says in his letter to the Romans: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1

We can all say amen to that! 

Pam Daunton