Encounter: Read chapters 4 & 5 in the Book of Revelation in two different translations. Underline words or phrases that seem to be a picture of worship. What is familiar to you and what seems strange? What is the point of the images. Watch the two videos on our Facebook page to get the big picture.
I’m coming back to the heart of worship, it’s all about you, it’s all about you…sound familiar?
So, what is the “heart” of worship? It seems there has always been some confusion about what worship is all about. When we talk about worship, we usually mean the hour or so we spend at a certain building, on a certain day, with certain music, and certain traditions. Is there more to worship than this?
Early Christ followers were forced out of the synagogues and back into their homes, yet it says they sang together, reminded one another of what Jesus had taught them, invited people into the faith and gathered around the table to remember their Savior with the bread and cup.
It is interesting that we have found ourselves in a similar place. If there is anything we can find redemptive in this season of physical distancing, is that it has the power to draw us all back to authentic worship. We sing together, we remind one another of what Jesus has taught us, we share our faith and this Sunday we gather around our computers and we will say those sacred words as we look into each other’s eyes, “the body of Christ broken for you, the blood of Christ shed for you.” And we will worship.
The definition of authentic is “something that is made or done in the traditional, genuine or original way, or in a way that faithfully resembles an original.” It is interesting to go back and listen to what Jesus was rewarding or correcting the 7 churches about. What is noticeably missing is anything about “how” they were worshipping. Nothing about traditions they were upsetting or music they were playing. It was all about how they were living their daily lives like Jesus and for the kingdom or how they were not. In this week’s reading in chapters 4 & 5, there are many images that remind us of authentic worship.
The number one being that Jesus is praised and worshipped because He is the only One who could and can stop the judgments of the Great Fall. He is the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. And we fall down, worship and sing praises with all of Heaven and Earth, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!
In “The Dangerous Act of Worship,” Pastor Mark Labberton writes that,
Worship names what matters most: the way human beings are created to reflect God’s glory by embodying God’s character in lives that seek righteousness and do justice. Such comprehensive worship redefines all we call ordinary. Worship turns out to be the dangerous act of waking up to God and to the purposes of God in the world, and then living lives that actually show it.
We have been given an invitation to sing a “new song” in this season and hold our prayers before the Lord as we live worship, instead of going to worship. The Word says He has made us a kingdom of priests to serve our God. We live an embodied faith. No matter where we are, the Living God has made His home in us and moves through us to draw others into His Great Love and destiny. Let us worship!
Reflect: How do you understand worship? What does it include? Is there a way to live worship? What does that look like?
Encourage: Think of someone you know that lives a life of worship beyond the church building. Send them a card or a message telling them what you see and how it encourages you.
Gather: Take time to gather with others virtually and share what worship means to you. What would it look like for us to worship God through our giving and service to others? How do we do that together with physical distancing?