Summary: Big Idea: I get the most out of worship when I bring together 3 distinct elements to form an exceptionally strong—or perfect—worship experience. 1. Private Preparation, 2. Divine Destination, 3. Public Proclamation
The Perfect Worship Experience
The Perfect Storm: A “confluence” (bringing together) of three elements that together created an exceptionally strong storm. If any one element had been displaced in time or space the result would have been far less powerful
• but because just the right things were in the mix and with just the right timing, the situation ballooned.
• The phrase the perfect storm is also associated with the 1991 Halloween Nor’easter, a particular meteorological event of October 1991 wherein a powerful weather system had gathered force, ravaging the Atlantic Ocean over the course of several days and causing the deaths of several Massachusetts-based fisherman and billions of dollars of damage. In that case, the merging of two low-pressure areas (areas associated with storms), a large flow of warm air from the south, cold air from the north, and moisture feeding into the storm from the warm ocean current (the Gulf stream) all conflated with exceptionally strong northwesterly winds (cold air), and strong Northeasterly winds (warm air that moved up from the south spinning counter clockwise in typical low pressure behavior) to create an exceptionally strong storm across a very large area.
Our focus today: The Perfect Worship Experience:
My hesitancy: Talking about worship as an “experience” might reinforce the prevalent and selfish idea that worship is all about me. What I get out of it. Things should be designed so that I am pleased. But the focus is all wrong. Worship is focused on God. Period.
Why I will still talk about an experience: Maybe it is my weakness: I just can’t shake my contemporary American church heritage that really, truly, wants to “get something out of worship.” Maybe it is because worship, though God centered and God inspired, does include the human element: you and me. And it should stir, inspire, and spring forth from us TOWARD the Lord, and as such, can be described as an experience.
Big Idea: I get the most out of worship when I bring together 3 distinct elements to form an exceptionally strong—or perfect—worship experience.
Read: Psalm 26:6-8, 12
Ps 26:6 I wash my hands in innocence,and go about your altar, O LORD, Ps 26:7 proclaiming aloud your praise
and telling of all your wonderful deeds.Ps 26:8 I love the house where you live, O LORD, the place where your glory dwells.
Ps 26:12 My feet stand on level ground; in the great assembly I will praise the LORD.
Transition: The first element does look inward, as we examine our part in
1. Private Preparation
. . . for unhindered Worship
Ps 26:6 I wash my hands in innocence,and go about your altar, O LORD,
Making Yourself Ready and Acceptable to worship
“wash my hands:” in the VERY LEAST, a ceremonial cleansing, but of course, in this Psalm, he undoubtedly means it goes deeper
• David has already laid out how he strives to walk in God’s ways, how his mind and heart are devoted to God.
• He precedes our verses today, with a statement on how he won’t participate in the habits and schemes of the wicked
o A man (Ron Wiley) who won’t be commissioner of a Fantasy Football league because of all it entails.
• The ceremonial cleansing of the priests followed what God wanted them to do
o Taught us the principle that God is Unique, Special, Holy. It reinforced that we are not perfect, holy on our own, to not take God and his grandness for commonplace.
“Go about your altar:”
• Where sacrifices were made.
o Preparations had to be made:
Find the animal without blemish
Take something from yours and give it to the Lord
Take something that cost you
o Consider what the offering/sacrifice represented:
Sin: holding on to the head while it was sacrificed—powerful reminder of the price of our sin
Peace offerings: Remembering all the good things God has done
Not only were you doing what God required, but think of how empty, or even hostile, worship would become if they didn’t take the time to engage their hearts and minds when they came to the temple.
• Didn’t just show up with nothing.
• And you couldn’t show up with SOMETHING if it meant nothing
o To obey is better than sacrifice:
o Jesus focused on coming to worship with the right motivation
Not doing it for others (blowing trumpets to be seen and acknowledged)
Instead, highlighting a poor woman who gave 2 “mites” for an offering
What kinds of will help US be ready and acceptable: to prepare for worship?:
• Walk before the Lord all week long, putting into practice the disciplines we have been talking about the last couple of weeks
Dan Kimball, in “Emerging Worship” contrasted what church ISN’T, with what church IS: