Summary: What is Christian Worship - part 9 in Spiritual Disc. series
Spiritual Disciplines: Worship
February 24, 208
It’s Sunday morning at 9:23 a.m. and a young mother shouts upstairs to see if her five year old has finally brushed his teeth and found any socks that match. Emptying unfinished cereal bowls in the sink, she checks the clock one more time, knowing that if she changes the baby’s diaper, the whole family will once again be late to church.
The hardest part of the morning is containing her resentment against her husband, who has somehow found time to read the sports page while she has been expected to prepare herself and three crabby children. She’ll have to put on lipstick in the car.
Across town a twenty-something young man presses his snooze alarm for the third time. Why did he cave in and agree to meet his friend at some church? To get the guy off his back after saying “No” on five other weekends. He wonders if it’s too late to beg sickness, or if he should just get it over with and grab some coffee to give him a jolt to ease the slight hangover from last night’s party.
A single dad honks the horn to pick up his fifth-grade son, hoping to give his boy a consistent religious experience and looking forward to their weekly donut stop after church.
A grandmother carefully buttons her best dress and frets over the casual attire of most contemporary church goers.
A thirty-two year old single woman catches herself smiling at a stoplight, filled with anticipation at the opportunity to go to church and thank God for the job promotion she thought would never come.
A fifteen year old girl has fought with her mom all morning about why she had to get up so early on one of her only days off, why her skirt is too short to wear to church, and why a Diet Coke and half a donut aren’t considered a nutritious breakfast.
A young couple who have diligently prayed for a baby the last four years get into their sedan, longing to have need for a minivan someday. Going to church has become a painful reminder for them of the hole they feel, and they secretly hope they can emotionally handle the sight of so many happy families arriving in the parking lot.
Every Sunday morning a minority of people in our town prepare to go to church. Each man, woman and child has a story - a life that goes on from Monday through Saturday. Many of them rush to get to church on time. Some were on the fence all morning about whether they would really show up. So, for those who do arrive, who walk into a church and take a seat, what is at stake? How much does it really matter what takes place in the next hour?
Out of about 300 or so people here this morning, we have come for many different reasons. Some are hoping to experience Jesus, some are here because they have always come, it’s where the car automatically comes on Sunday mornings; some are here because they were told they had to be here, they came against their will and maybe even their better judgement (and I’m glad you are here); some are here, very honestly for reasons that do not yet make sense to them.
We have all come to this building knowing Sunday morning is about WORSHIP. That is the focus of our time together this morning. As we move through a discussion of the various disciplines, the Spiritual Discipline of WORSHIP may seem like anything but a discipline. Yet, if we do not understand the point of worship and even get a clue about how to worship, then when we come here, we are just opening ourselves to a time of frustration and aggravation, instead of a time of joy and praise and life giving celebration.
When we come into this building, which we call a church, we have some options available to us. We can come into this building and we have all been down this road, we can be bitter and angry at the world, including God, for the rough times of our lives. Or we can come in here and give thanks and praise to God for all of the amazing ways He has blessed us in our lives.
We all have experienced difficult times in our lives, yet God has promised us that He will never abandon us, He will never bail out on us, He will never fail us, instead He promises us “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
With promises like these, promises which lead us to better understand God’s plans for you and I, His plans to prosper us, to give us hope and a future, not to harm us - - - should lead us into worship because we are thankful, despite our difficult times. Because we know God is for us and if God is for us, frankly that is our greatest asset.