Worship – Not a Spectator Sport
Sometimes when we worship, we have the idea that it should go something like this:
Maybe what we’re experiencing is a bit more attractive:
Regardless, the idea seems to be that worship is something we sit and watch others do. We watch something beautiful. We hear something profound. We share some experiences and then we go about the business of our real lives, and only rarely do the two – worship and life – impinge upon one another.
Nothing could be farther from the biblical picture of worship. Our world is dying, our friends and neighbors are destroying themselves in idolatrous lives, and Paul has something to say about it!
Rom 8:19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
I bet no one ever told you that is a worship text. The whole book of Romans is about worship! Worship of God contrasted with worship of idols. Paul goes so far as to call his Jewish family that rejects King Jesus idolators too!
True Worship of Almighty God, the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is not a spectator sport. It is the most dangerous way of life in the cosmos. True worship defies the corrupt powers in the world around us. True worship says “Jesus is LORD” and no one else is!
Mark Labberton writes, “The crisis the church currently faces is that our individual and corporate worship do not produce the fruit of justice and righteousness that God seeks. This creates a crisis of faithfulness before God and a crisis of purpose before the world. Scripture indicates that our personal and communal worship are meant to shape our vision and fire our engines to be daring disciples, imitating and sharing the love of Jesus Christ in acts of righteousness and justice. What’s more, the Bible teaches that the people of the world, whether they believe it or not, suffer and die while waiting for us in the church to live like the people of God, demonstrating our worship with our lives (Romans 8:18-25). The heart of the battle over worship is this: our worship practices are separated from our call to justice and, worse, foster the self-indulgent tendencies of our culture rather than nurturing the self-sacrificing life of the kingdom of God. We are asleep. Nothing is more important than for us to wake up and practice the dangerous act of worship, living God’s call to justice.” (The Dangerous Act of Worship, pp. 22-23)
In another setting, perhaps an even more central one, Paul writes this:
Eph 5:14 “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you,”
…freely paraphrasing another call to worship:
Isa 60:1 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
Beloveds, only our worship reveals us to the world as sons and daughters of the Most High God!
Only ss we worship Him will we become more like Him.
Only as we reflect His shining light into the darkness of our world (rather than at each other or back at God) will the kingdom of God burst forth with healing restorative love in our homes, our workplaces, the places and people we encounter every day. This is the mission of God.
Let our brother Luke tell us a story to conclude:
And Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
in HIS love,