Thoughts on worship p. 1

Worshiping together…

“Worship” is used to describe everything from a gathering to singing to an experience. Some view it as the “warm up” to a message. Others view it as an opportunity for creative expression.
Jesus talked about God looking for worshipers, those who would worship Him in spirit and in truth. That seems to indicate worshiping from the core of who you really are on the basis of who He really is.
The Bible also paints the picture of ALL our lives being worship – offering everything we are and do to God.
A friend used to say “pray with your eyes open and worship with your eyes shut.” He was encouraging us to look for what God is doing when you are praying (quickly answering), and to look to heaven when worshiping.
I’ve been pondering the purpose of worship, specifically getting together to worship with other followers of Jesus. The early church primarily used the Psalms as their “hymnbook.” Have you ever tried singing the Psalms? It can be pretty awesome and it can be pretty awkward… Can you imagine everyone singing a song with a couple hundred lines? At the same time the richness of singing something from God’s book is unequaled.
Worship could be defined as declaring who God is; what He has done, is doing and is going to do. That can take quite a bit of time and opens the door to endless creativity.
Whenever people gather to worship God a strange thing happens, He actually comes near. The Person of the Holy Spirit draws near. The Bible says He inhabits or is enthroned upon the praises of His people. Have you ever experienced getting together with others to worship, only to find God’s peace settling upon you and anxiety disappearing?
We can tangibly experience His peace, His joy, and whatever else we need from Him in times of worshiping together. You can’t get that on your own. Yes, you can experience God’s presence on your own, but there is an aspect or element of His grace that only comes when we worship together — broken people in imperfect local church communities expressing their love for God, declaring His greatness.
All over the world wherever people gather to worship, lives are transformed, communities and nations are impacted, if we only knew…
That is one of the reasons God tells us in Hebrews to not forsake getting together as His people. It isn’t just to hang out together. Something meaningful and transformational happens when God’s people worship Him in unity.
A significant void develops when we stop getting together with other followers of Jesus to worship Him. We can fill it with other stuff. We can avoid the imperfections of local church community.
But the fact remains, we were made to worship together, and the church (and earth) suffers in the absence of one person who detaches from this wonderful calling.
I’m looking forward to the next time of worshiping with other followers of Jesus, no matter where they are in the journey, to expressing our love for Jesus and appreciation for His profound mercy. I may just close my eyes and imagine what is going on in heaven. And I’ll glance around the room to be reminded that I wasn’t made to walk or worship alone.

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