Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Words with no place in worship.

(This article is written for mature believers only.  New converts and immature believers will be learning this content as they go.)

Worship is sacred.

Worship is beholden by God.

Worship is directed, and we obey.

Sometimes we lose track of what we're supposed to do. We lose our way and become lost sheep.  We lose light of the flock and the Shepard and we start placing the focus elsewhere.

Here are some things I have heard said in churches that have no place in worship:

"Well normally we stand for the Gospel, but we've done a lot of standing today so let's all sit for the Gospel."

Is it important to stand during some parts of the service?  Can't we worship in our spirits even if we don't look like it?  After all, we hear the same thing.  We get the same information.  I still get a lot out of it. I'm still being fed.

Standing is a sign of reverence just as lifting your hands is a sign of praise and adoration.  If you choose to sit during a visible sign of reverence, you are doing the opposite of revering the Creator of the universe... you are despising Him.  I guarantee that the person who said this did not mean to despise the Lord.  Most likely, this person never learned the significance of standing during the Gospel.

However, think about the implication that must have been made. We stand to revere God, but we're tired so let's sit down.  The considerations are pitting our comfort versus God's deserving of reverence.  How many times in a week do we decide not to do something for God that he has designed for us to do for the sake of our own comfort?  How often do we skip morning prayer so we can sleep a little longer? Do we miss the Eucharistic celebration so we can have some family time, or so that we won't have to work hard to get there on time in the morning? Do we not raise our hands because it makes us uncomfortable?  Do we not pray in public for the same reason? Do we watch The Voice instead of reading the Word?

Any time we make a decision to honor our own comfort instead of honoring God, we are placing ourselves at the center of the universe.  Our faith is based on sacrifice.  His sacrifice becomes the model of our sacrifice.  He hung on a cross for hours...  we can't stand for a few minutes?

"Well we have a baptism today, so there's not enough time for the eucharist."

Can I suggest that all other elements of worship are expendable other than the Eucharist?

The Eucharist is at the center, without the center you only have emptiness. In too many traditions today, things of men are at the center.  Music.  Reading.  Videos. The sermon. Youth Group.  Coffee hour.

Can you have the worship Jesus designed without the sermon?  Yes.
Music? Yes.
Readings? Yes.
Videos?  Yes.
Youth Groups? Yes.
Coffee hour?  Yes.
Sunday School? Yes.
The Offering? Yes.
Even the sermon? (thousands of preachers are saying "No! Not the Sermon!!"  /   while their congregations are thinking "Well...maybe cutting it down to 10 minutes?")


Jesus did not say do it when nothing else is going on.  Jesus did not say, eh you should do it, but if you're having a busy Sunday, get rid of it.

How self-focused is it of us to disobey our Savior?  If we're going to disobey Him here, why not other places?  Can you think of anywhere else in our culture where were are choosing not to obey what He commanded us to do? Maybe a big reason why is because we as the Church have been choosing not to obey Him.

As Christians we really need to think deeply about the decisions we make and analyze what the impact of them are.

"As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

"The service is just too long. Let's keep it under an hour."

Normally, I've only heard this as a through the grapevine, where many people are thinking it, but nobody is willing to say it.

I'm all for having the glorious heavenly worship be a flowing, moving celebration.  I doubt anyone is at the throne saying "Man, this is really dragging... Can't we speed this up?"

But to put a time limit on what should be the high point of our weeks, doesn't make a lot of sense does it?

Some comparisons:

Let's feast!   .........but only under 200 calories.
Let's party!  .........but keep it quiet.
Let's rock!   .........but keep the moving around to a minimum.

Let's be honest.  If you're saying the service is too long, you're probably thinking of all the things you would rather be doing.  My cousin has a swim meet.  I have to wash the car.  My dogs are waiting to go out.  Kickoff is at 1:05.

If there are things you'd rather be doing, you may need to look at your priorities in your life.  As I write this, I am a 28 year old man with two children under the age of three, two dogs, and I really enjoy football.  I have plenty of other things that can creep onto my priority list.  It's my job as a Christian to make sure that they are not more important than God is.

If you're saying that Church is too long, you're saying that you are more important the God.

Bottom Line.  No excuses.  No rationalizations.  God is more important than we are.  God is more important than you are.  God is more important than I am.

In the ancient church, the service lasted well over five hours. Mostly standing and singing. The people who knew Christ probably knew how to worship Him pretty well.

Are you really worshipping?

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