Summary: This is a light hearted look at what we should and shouldn’t be doing in worhsip.
A psalm. For giving thanks.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3 Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
“Can You Do That in Worship?"
Craig: I have been doing some reading from our old Seminary text books… and I came across this quote from the great Presbyterian theologian Karl Barth, that I would like to share with you all now:
“One should prepare for worship inwardly and observe it with the greatest possible abstention from all activities, including amusing entertainment, focusing instead on the service of worship and works of mercy. Herein we have the sanctification of the Sabbath in its authoritative expression.” (Barth 145)
So… in light of this revelation, I think we would be very wise to put away all distractions like entertainment and humor… and play it very straight today. So… I’m going to give a good old three point… twenty minute theologically sound diatribe based on sanctifying the Sabbath for the purpose of true spiritual worship.
Spencer: Wait. You’re what? What am I going to do with this cowboy hat now?
Craig: Don’t you think… in light of Barth’s position… that THAT would be just slightly more than inappropriate?
Spencer: But Craig, I don’t even think anyone in my congregation knows who Karl Barth is!!! Can’t we just do the spaceman… cowboy thing again?
Craig: I know we have had fun with these sermons in the past… but I’m pretty sure that “spacemen and cowboys” were exactly the kind of amusing entertainment that Barth was warning us to avoid in worship.
Spencer: So what… we are going to just do this dry and dull?
Craig: And monotone preferably.
Spencer: Ugh…. You are killing me! We gotta give them a little sizzle or we might as well be reading them assembly manuals. “Place part 3B into socket 16D until bar 4A is perpendicular with the crossover hatch but NOT parallel to.”
Craig: Oh… I’m pretty sure scripture would have something for you to think about: Hebrews 12:28 “let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,” for God deserves our TRUE worship and through that… we not only glorify God but we also become filled with the Holy Spirit in the process.
Spencer: I still have a problem understanding why we cant have just a little bit of fun with it in the process.
Craig: Because it does make a difference! Scripture is scripture. Truth is truth. A sermon should rightfully be a sermon… and THAT is serious. The great preacher Charles Spurgeon declared: “A preacher should enter the pulpit with all fear and trembling.” I’m pretty sure that doesn’t leave any room for clown noses or joke books.
Spencer: You know, I will agree with you regarding the importance of pastoral dignity and decorum, but I believe that there is room… and sometimes even a need for humor in worship. It can lighten the soul, it can illustrate a principle, it can even diffuse the tension surrounding a heavy subject.
Our Old Testament lesson even reminds us that we can worship the Lord with gladness and come before him with joyful songs, that we should enter his gates with thanksgiving and enter his courts with praise. Surely this shows us we don’t have to be serious all the time. I mean, really… do you mean to tell me that you DON’T think God has a sense of humor!
Craig: Well… he did create you didn’t he?
Spencer: I agree with you 100% about never straying from sound theology. I think every sermon should point to God and be based entirely on scripture. I’ll even quote a little Barth for you my Barthian friend:
“Aside from Scripture, no other authority for faith can come under consideration. Therefore all who regard another doctrine as equal to or higher than the Gospel err and do not know what the Gospel is. The church of Christ makes no laws or commandments without God’s word. Hence all human traditions, which are called ecclesiastical commandments, are binding upon us only in so far as they are based on and commanded by God’s word.” (Barth 50)
Or, in laymen’s terms… if it doesn’t honor the bible… it doesn’t honor God!
Craig: So, do you really think you can give a sermon that truly honors scripture while wearing a cowboy hat?