Thursday, March 26, 2009

Why We Worship – Part 3

This is a continuation of a series of posts on why it is import that we worship God on a regular basis.

4. Early Worship

From what we can determine about worship in the early church, we know from earliest times that people gathered together to pray; sing; listen to God’s word; have fellowship with one another; and share in a common meal. Our worship today, while more formalized, still consists of prayer, singing, the proclamation of the Word, fellowship, and eating. Of course the common meal we have today is Communion. But we also have the breaking of bread with one another during the coffee hour and at certain events.

In both the Old Testament and in the early church, we see that worship can define a people. God’s people, the Israelites, were defined by their worship of one God, and by their unique way of worshipping him. God gave them their form of ritual worship plus another form of worship, keeping the Law. The Israelites’ daily worship consisted of observing the various ceremonial laws, such as the dietary rules and a strict observance of the Sabbath.

Today our daily worship consists of how we live our lives and glorify God, and keeping the moral law. Our daily worship should also include prayer and daily devotions, but these are no substitute for coming together as a community to worship God. Why is it important for us to come together as a community to worship?

Worship in General

Essentially, worship connects people to God and to one another. We should gather together with the right attitude, deliberately seeking an encounter with God in Christ. In worship, we meet Christ through singing, prayer, Scripture, preaching, and Holy Communion.

1. Results of Worship

God can and will use worship to benefit us by transforming lives; healing wounded souls; renewing hope; shaping decisions; provoking changes in our lives; inspiring compassion; and binding people to one another in Christian love. God through Christ actively seeks a relationship with us through worship, and will change lives. Has your relationship with the Lord improved because of worship?

More about worship in a future post. Note that some thoughts in this post are based on the book Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations by Robert Schnase, Abingdon Press, Nashville, Tennessee. © 2007 Robert Schnase

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