Exploring New Ways to Worship

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Welcome to St Albans, one congregation of Christ’s body in our city, where we encourage people to worship God in all areas of their lives.  Our thanks to Jasmin Vanderwerff and her team for organising and leading our different worship stations in this new form of worship at our 10am service.  The following excerpt is from Canadian Marva Dawn’s book “How shall we worship?”  She is a teacher at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, an author of many Christian books and a teacher throughout the global church.

“What is worship?  It is our glad response to the immense grace (undeserved kindness) of the Triune God (God in three persons).  All of life is worship if we live in gratitude and reverence, with mindfulness of God and eagerness to serve Him.

At particular times we expressly worship with words, songs and actions of thanks and petition (asking) and praise.  When we do this by ourselves, we engage in the practices of private worship and devotions.  If we gather together with other Christians, we participate in public, corporate worship.  The result will be that we become more deeply formed to worship God in all we think, say or do in daily life.

This poem by Abraham Joshua Heschel suggests many questions we could ponder:

“Amidst the meditation of mountains, the humility of flowers –

wiser than all alphabets –

clouds that die constantly for the sake of His glory,

we are hating, hunting, hurting ....

Only one response can maintain us:  gratefulness

for witnessing the wonder,

for the gift of our undeserved right to serve,

to adore, and to fulfil.”

Is the public, corporate worship of our churches true to the Christian faith?  Does it form its participants with the humility and wisdom of God’s creation?  What can we learn from nature about praising God?  Does our worship enable us to be ready to die for the sake of God’s glory?  Does it cleanse us from our tendency to hate, hunt, hurt?  Does it help us witness God’s glory and nourish in us gratefulness? wonder?  Does it stir us to witness, service, adoration, fulfilment of God’s purposes?”

I often reflect on the verses in Revelation chapter 7, “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of [God’s] throne and before the Lamb.  They were clothed in white and held palm branches in their hands.  And they were shouting with a mighty shout, “Salvation comes from our God on the throne and from the Lamb!”....And they fell face down before the throne and worshipped God.”

Worship will be our overwhelming response to meeting God on that Last Day and the primary attitude of our eternity.  I believe that God will also have joyful work for us to do as we live our lives together in the new earth.