Our purpose is to worship
Matt Redman, the writer of many of the Church’s most loved contemporary worship songs said in a recent article: Human beings have been created to worship the living God – as Psalm 150:6 says: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” The Westminster Shorter Catechism says a person’s “chief end” is to “glorify God, and to enjoy him forever”. Augustine noted that our hearts are restless until they find their home in God, and CS Lewis warned us of the dangers of any other approach – “idols always break the hearts of their worshippers”.
Barking up the wrong tree
I don’t know about you but I have been through significant times of unrest, and the most memorable time was due to my heart being by worshiping the wrong thing. If we are honest we can all relate to that, although we would never have used the language of worship, but I’m sure we can remember when our aspirations, dreams or personal goals became harsh and heartbreaking gods with a small ‘g’.
Resetting our worship
The last year has forced many of us to abandon things and caused us to feel hugely restless. For some people Lockdown 1 removed unhelpful distractions or full diaries and left them with more time to worship God than ever before. Whilst others have found themselves more stretched and maybe even more reliant on distractions to get through. I know many people who have spent too much time on a screen, drinking or eating more than they would like.
Yet the pandemic does give us the chance to think about what worshipping God really means, especially for those who have been unable to make it to Zoom services or to meet in person. However rather than being starved of worship, some have rediscovered that our whole lives and not just that hour on a Sunday are our true act of worship. Worship seen in obedience to the government, in caring for neighbours, calling friends, now we begin to see how much God cares about our whole lives.
Frontlines as places of worship
All of us have different frontlines or opportunities or places where we meet and connect with others. The diocese has been running a course called Fruitfulness on the Frontline from LICC, which helps to widen our view of the opportunities to worship and glorify God. It has opened up every area of life and begun to show us how we can use them to glorify God. It has challenged us to take what to some is mundane and turn it into worship, so now we know that washing up, greeting a stranger, seeking justice and working well are all opportunities to worship and see God’s kingdom grow.
Remembering what it is all about
Matt Redman concludes: The year 2020 is one we’ll never forget – the amount of disruption and disturbance to our normal way of going about things has been immense – including in the area of our congregational worship. Not being able to gather in person has been painful at times. But alongside the discomfort and the chaos, maybe there’s also been a pruning – an opportunity to come out of this moment spirituality sharper than ever before – and focused once again on the things that carry the most importance. Everything has been stripped back, and we’re forced to think through once again what is our highest priority with worship, and what is peripheral. And, indeed, what is missing. Personally it has taken me back to some simple lyrics I wrote more than two decades ago:
I’m coming back to the heart of worship
And it’s all about You
It’s all about You Jesus.
These extracts are taken from an article in the February 2021 issue of Premier Christianity.
I would love to hear something you’ve always taken for granted and now offer up to God as an act of worship. And if this sounds like something that you would like to learn more about, look out for opportunities to attend a Fruitfulness on the Frontline course.