"Whatever we get out of it, however God blesses us for our worship, is just icing on the cake."

Pastor Stephanie DiFrancesco

The Real Purpose of Sunday Worship….

At the council meeting last month, we had a wonderful discussion on worship!  Conversation led to questions: “What’s the purpose of the message/sermon?”  “What types of worship does God want?”  I think it gave everyone something to really think about and pray about.  After the meeting, I went to one of my seminary books to have another read.  “Worship Old & New,” by Robert E. Webber, is an excellent book on worship beginning with Old Testament Worship and then continuing through New Testament Worship, Early Christian Worship, the History of Worship, and the many influences we have in our worship today.  The book is full of scripture references and teachings on worship throughout the history of mankind.

I believe one of the biggest mistakes we make as Christians is to assume that we come to worship to get something.  If worship is defined as “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity,” then why are we so convinced that we attend a worship service to do anything but worship?  As a culture that is all about consumerism and fulfilling our own needs, it’s easy to understand how we have made this mistake.  Add to that the fact that life is just hard, and coming to church makes us feel better,

Webber writes, “While the first fundamental theme of salvation history and of worship is that God initiates a relationship, the second is that the people of God must respond to God’s initiative.  God speaks and acts and the people respond.  The responses are done in public worship through institutions of worship such as the tabernacle, the temple, the synagogue, and the church.  Worship in and through these institutions proclaims, recalls and enacts the great saving deeds of God.  And, the people respond by remembering, anticipating, celebrating and serving.” (Webber, pg. 27)

The purpose of the worship service is for us to respond to God.  It is for us to participate in the celebration of what Jesus did for us on the Cross and to give him thanks.  The sermon, or message, is for us to hear, but then for us to respond in obedience to God’s Word.  “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.” (James 1:22)

What type of worship does God want? “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” (John 4:23)

The worship experience should be participatory.  We are not an audience or a consumer when we come together.  We all play an important part.  Scripture reading, sharing praise, praying together, singing songs of worship, responding to the Word — this is why we gather on Sunday morning. Whatever we get out of it, however God blesses us for our worship, is just icing on the cake.”

See you at the church!

Pastor Stef

 

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