Tuesday, 25 September 2012
Some Hindrances to True Worship
Worshipping the Lord is the highest activity that anyone can engage in on this earth. Praising His holy Name is the most exalted thing we can do. To meet God in living encounter is what makes worship worship. And when we come to church, we are coming to give to God the honour that is due to His Name. In heart we are taken up with His glory and majesty. Indeed our very hearts and souls are moved deeply by the presence of God by His Spirit. When we are worshipping the living God, we find ourselves "lost in wonder, love and praise" (Isaac Watts). Nay, we find that we have nothing to say in the presence of the Almighty. Every mouth stopped. Struck by the awesome holiness of God. Silent.
But that doesn't happen much in many of today's churches. Rather, when you enter the church for the public worship of God, it is like being at the local horse fair. Then before the service starts, you cannot even get a time of quiet to prepare your heart to worship this awesome God - and in the church is where you'd expect a quiet and solemn atmosphere where Christians can focus their hearts on what they are about to do. When the service actually starts, whether or not the singing pleases me is not the issue; the point is that the very singing and choice of 'worship songs' are contra-indications of what it is to worship God in spirit and in truth. The unsingable songs are a hindrance to worship which some can overcome but others find utterly distracting. Musicians roving about the church hardly able to out one foot past the other and dressed to look more like clowns that worshippers of God.
So when I go to church, I do not go primarily to get something from the service - though hungry sheep do need to be fed - I am there to give my heart up to God in the worship of His holy Name. I am not there to support the church; I am there to be supported by the church. What use is a church to anybody if that church has to be supported by those who need its help, the weak, the suffering, the depressed, the anxious, and so on!
I think that while the emphasis is right that we go to church to give worship to God, and not primarily to get for ourselves, it is also true that the sheep need to be fed and the goats need to be turned into sheep. Yet the more we give in worship the more we get from it.