Monday, February 14, 2011

Toward the Sickness and Cure of Christian Worship in Our Churches

"Truly, if our worship, if our spiritual life, is going to rise above this earthly existence where our minds are fixed on mundane thoughts and our attention is given to mundane concerns, then we are going to have to begin to focus our hearts and our minds on the holiness and the glory and the beauty of the one we say we know and love.

"Our churches do not always make this easy. All too often the heartfelt desires of the worshippers to see God in his glory are frustrated by meetings and programs that often get in the way and jar our spiritual sensitivities. This, in spite of the fact that churches are always trying to make worship more meaningul. But usually these efforts focus on new methods and different styles designed to make worship more lively and more relevant rather than on how to inspire worshippers to see the true and holy God of glory. In an effort to simplify things and make them relevant, the meaning and the mystery has been lost. As a result, in many services there may be almost nothing that is truly uplifting, moving, or even interesting. . . .

"For any significant change to occur in our worship activities, we have to get behind forms and methods and changes in style and focus on the biblical theology that informs worship, because of of the reasons, if not the main reason, for the lack of proper attention given to worship is the lack of a biblical, theological understanding. . . .

"For worship to be as glorious as it should be . . . it must be inspired by a vision so great and so glorious that what we call worship will be transformed from a routine gathering into a transcendent meeting with the living God. . . .

"The starting point of any discussion of worship must be the object of worship, the Lord God himself, who is higher and more significant and far more glorious than life itself. This is the vision we need to inspire our worship; it is the vision that a world lost in sin needs in order to be reconciled to God.

--From Allen P. Ross, "Recalling the Hope of Glory: Biblical Worship from the Garden to the New Creation"

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