Jesus’ first miracle, as recorded by John, was in Cana of Galilee. Jesus was at a wedding. When they ran out of wine, Jesus turned the water in 6 large jars into the best wine. The Master of Ceremonies, not knowing what had happened, tasted it and said, “you have saved the best till now.” In other words, when Jesus makes wine, he makes the best.
Worship . . . is meant to celebrate the coming of Christ (Advent); the birth of Christ (Christmas); the manifestation of Christ as the light of the whole world (Epiphany); the impending death of Christ (Lent); the events of his last week (Holy Week); the resurrection (Easter); and the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost). These are the kairos events for Christians that give meaning and significance to our day-to-day lives in the world.
When you read the story of the last days of Jesus’ life, you don’t realize how much climbing the disciples had to do. The Mt. of Olives is a mountain and the temple was on another mountain next door. So Jesus and disciples come over one mountain and down the valley to the Upper Room and then come back! Let’s walk the Mount of Olives together…
The ancient Greco-Roman city of Bet She’an was a huge city in Jesus’ day. It was one of the pagan cities of the Decapolis that was later destroyed in an earthquake. Since the 70’s it’s been discovered and excavated. It’s interesting to us because it MIGHT have been the site of the first missionary (the man possessed by a legion of demons and then freed by Jesus) to the gentiles.
The Western Wall is famous all over the world. We have all seen the pictures of people praying and inserting written prayers into the wall. However, there is story in the gospels about Jesus’ temptation that also took place at the “highest point of the temple”. Let’s visit the Western Wall.
I sensed this was the week that above all weeks was to be set aside for the journey into death. I knew the worship of the church would take me by the hand and lead me step-by-step into the experience of death and rebirth, if I would allow it to do so. I resolved then and there to walk in the way of the cross. I purposed to make this the week God intended it to be for me, a week of intense spiritual struggle—and reward!
-Robert Webber, Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year
Worship is a meeting between God and his people. Like all other meetings between two people, a certain amount of form is necessary. . . . God has already established the structural ingredients needed in a meeting with him, and we cannot improve on these forms. We simply need to understand what they are and practice them in faith, believing that we really are meeting God in…Preparation [Gathering], Word, Table [Communion], and Dismissal [Sending].
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.
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.