Summary: Corporate worship is up to you. We must not harden your hearts. Worship is the sharing of joy and the humbleness of our place.
For every person in this room there is probably some different idea or memory about what a worship service is like or should be like.
-This morning our special guest Heather, has helped us in this service to be a little different than we normally do.
There are many forms of worship which we may find unusual at first glance. But if examine the actions and the process it would probably not feel too strange when we look at almost any Christian service.
If we went over to St Mary’s Catholic church we would probably see the most formal and strict service. Printed prayers and Liturgies. Half way through the service half the people leave as the actual mass starts (holy communion).
In other churches this morning there are all kinds of music, Rock and roll bands and orchestras playing music, people with hands raised and some even dancing. With the wide diversity of activities that people call worship we find that all of them call on the name of Jesus for their salvation and the promises of God.
A closer example would be last year when the youth went on a camping trip at the Boy scout camp. On Sunday morning, we held a service in the woods, technically in the open. We used the camp chapel. The pews were logs that were supported by stone pillars. The pulpit was a large round boulder. The kids came over to the place with sleep in their eyes because of the extremely short period of rest they had the evening before.
They were a little dirty, looking almost lifeless. Then we fired up a boom box with some praise and worship music. Several of the glassy eyed girls jumped up and volunteered to help lead the singing. Suddenly there were smiles and voices rising. There was a little movement a little clapping. The woods were filled with the sounds of human worship. Later there was a message related the importance of youth in Gods kingdom.
Then we have the worship we do here, which is structured and in a way formal. It is no less worship and no more worship than my other example.
The key point that we need to understand about worshiping God is that it has less to do with what we do and more to do with the source on the inside of each of us. Any time we block or restrict the internal desire to offer praise to God we are holding back on worship. I will admit to you that there have been a couple of times when I felt uncomfortable in a service. I could not worship like the people around me. When that happened it was partly the lack of structure or “rules” that threw me off.
In the scripture this morning we hear a call for the people to come to worship God. They are to start with songs of praise for the Rock of our salvation. The author is saying that they are sings the praises of God to God. While it appears that the form of worship being described involves singing. It does not define how the music is to sound. Or perhaps it does, What does a song of joy sound like. When I think Joy I think uplifting, happy, and maybe even upbeat and fast. Sort of a wake me up song. Something that will change our focus from sleep and boredom to a focus on the greatness of God and his actions.
The psalm goes on to define that God is the creator of the sea and the land. Part of worship is realizing how small we are from God’s perspective, but at the same time noticing how important we are to him that he hears and receives our worship and praise. When we come to worship we focus on how big and great our God is but not to cause fear, but to realize the presence of God in our lives.
The first five verses of the psalm are a call to rejoice.
When we come to church we are coming to be reminded about our God and all that he has done. We join other believers the share the experience and the individual joys in our lives. This morning I am talking about corporate worship. I am talking about joining together in common focus of our thoughts and prayers and even in many ways our actions.
The writer says “Let Us” which indicates that Worship is a corporate action. That believers come together for a shared experience. Not that there is not a level of private worship that all of us have. But the Psalmist is indicating that worship is congregational.
According to the scripture Worship is also vocal. It may involve testimony, it definitely involves songs. Both of those involve releasing the felling and emotions that are contained in our heart, our love of God and our praise for his actions in our collective lives.