It seems to me that congregational [participation] cannot occur without two very basic ingredients: the congregation must understand what they are doing, and they must intend to make the responses that are part of worship. Worship is a verb.
Since God is speaking and acting in worship, response to God who speaks and acts is of great importance.
In my response, I am once again saying yes to God. As with the initial response when I first heard the word of God’s love and grace, I again respond to him in faith and love. . . . I respond to God in worship because he makes a difference in my life. . . . My response to God . . . determines my priorities in life. It puts me at peace with God, my neighbor, and my own life.
I wrote this for a specific worship service, but it’s didn’t fit. However, it seemed to fit our NIGHT TO SHINE event that is happening tonight. So, I wanted to share it. We are also continuing our study looking at Jesus’ Divinity, Humiliation and Exaltation. That makes it doubly relevant. Here we go…
Worship is not for the purpose of remembering the Reformation, hailing the founding of America, saluting mothers, boy scouts, girl scouts, or grandparents. Worship does not celebrate Independence Day, Memorial Day, or Labor Day.
Worship remembers the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. . . . All that goes into an actual service of worship must pertain to the event of God revealing himself to us, becoming incarnate in our history, and redeeming us from the power of the evil one, setting us free to enjoy him forever.
“Theology is the North Pole and art the South Pole of the Christian Life. Theology is the study of what God does and says; art is what people say and do in the entire context of what God says and does…. You can’t have one without the other…’”
-Eugene Peterson 1932-2018
In the process of worshiping…growth occurs through both word and symbol. By symbolizing what we say, the reality of coming into personal contact with God in worship is experienced. . . . Our whole person is drawn into the very presence of God, and all our being—our bodies, our sight, our hearing, our tasting, and our sense of smell—become alive with worship and praise.
Scriptures read and preached forms my entire life in the world—personal, family, vocation, ethical. In this way worship sets the world in order, educates me about my place in it, and inspires me to understand God’s ways of dealing with me and with his people.
6 years ago, we lost my son. Since then, we’ve been on a journey through lament (expressing our pain to God), mercy, healing, joy and praise. I think this is the process God wants for all of us. As Psalm 126 says, “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.”
Also, here is a copy of the “Psalm 142 Spoken Word”:
Psalm 142 Spoken Word
Lord, I am crying aloud to you.
Lord, I am lifting my voice
Because I have no choice,
but to cry for mercy.
I am pouring out my heart,
I am pouring out my trouble,
Amidst the rubble
of confusion and complaint.
Now when my spirit is faint inside of me.
It is you who watches my way
Even when evil tries to lay
A snare for my feet.
There is no friend beside me;
Lord, look and see,
no one is concerned for me.
I have no safety for my soul;
It feels like no one cares for my life.
Lord, I am crying out to you.
Lord, you guard my heart
And I know this is all apart
Of living in your loving life.
So listen to my heart’s cry,
for I am in desperate need;
rescue me from fears that feed
On my soul, for they are too strong.
Set me free from my prison of pain,
that I may praise your holy name.
that the righteous who came
to comfort me, will praise You…
Because of your goodness,
Because of your goodness,
Because of your goodness, Jesus,