My Part in Worship?

reunion_sundayO.K., O.K., let’s see, Scriptures about worship . . . Oh! Here are a few:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (I Cor. 10:31). Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart. . . (Eph. 5:19). Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Hebrews 10:25). Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! (Psalm 96:1-3)

I have to admit my part in worship is not something that I can take lightly because it is clearly commanded in God’s Word. I can choose to ignore what Scripture says, but that is at best blinding myself to the vast blessings that come with reading and studying God’s Word, and at worst blatant disobedience. Showing up for worship is just not enough. Scripture never says anything like, “Just show up for worship; sit there and don’t sing, and think about other stuff and you’ll be good. Worship time is also a great time to catch a quick nap; you know, your “Sabbath rest.” Yet, I have been guilty of this from time to time, and from what I can tell this is what is practiced by a few who somehow think that simply showing up is all that is required. Some folks profess to know and love Christ, yet they rarely worship Him, pray to Him, read His Word, or tell anyone else about Him. I wonder how a husband or wife would feel if their spouse treated them that way? Do I really want to be like that?

I know after studying God’s Word that one of the ways I communicate with God and God communicates with me is through worship. Why wouldn’t I want that? When I gather with other Christians and lift up my voice in songs of praise, I join them in the presence of God. Christ dwells in the praises of His people. “Where two or three are gathered, there I am in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20) Worship is a time when I can offer Him my praise and thanks for all He has done for me. God in turn speaks to me through His Word and through His Spirit. My soul is enriched and my spirit is renewed in worship. When I sit in silent indifference, I shut down communication and deny myself the very blessings that God promises, simply because I am not engaged. When I hear people say, “I didn’t get anything out of that worship today; it was boring.” I think, “I wonder how much you put into it? I wonder how much I put into it! ” The Scriptures never say, “Only attend worship when it is really fun and exciting and everyone else is doing all the work to make it that way. If you find it dull, don’t use the time to pray for folks, especially the pastor, or meditate on Scripture. Just sit there and brood over how you could be home playing a computer game or watching sports. Check e-mails Facebook and Twitter.” Sometimes my own attitude affects how I experience worship, so what can I or anyone else expect if I go into worship with an attitude of “prove this is worth my time?”

All right, all right, I get it. But some of the songs are just so lame! I mean, really, are they from the dark ages or what?! I’m not the only one to think that either! Well, I suppose I could actually learn some of them, and maybe I would enjoy them. Or maybe I could be willing to try a little harder. It is fun to learn new things. I did like it when the group sang with the bass, hammered dulcimer and drums the other Sunday. I have to admit, the words to the songs and hymns are really powerful, even if I don’t know the melody. If people can learn the latest songs off of ITunes and T.V. shows and movies, I guess we can learn a new hymn or song. Maybe I’m the one who’s lame and not the music! I don’t like it when people criticize me, but if I am critical of the worship, I’m setting myself up as a judge and Scripture does say, “Don’t judge because the way you judge others is the way you will be judged.” (Matt. 7:1) I have to admit that I actually like to sing. Maybe I could talk to the music guy and see if there is something I could participate in!

But those creeds and prayers! I’m not sure I want to confess all that stuff right in front of everybody else. I mean, whose business is it, after all, what I need to confess? And whose business is it what I believe?! If I think about it though, I remember that Scripture also says that I’m supposed to “confess your faults, one to another and pray for one another that you might be healed.” (James 5:16) So if I’m not doing that, again I’m being disobedient. James 5:16 even says my prayers actually have power! Wow! And I have to admit that saying the creeds does help me remember what my faith is all about, especially when the different creeds that we say force me to think about what I really believe! I get it.

Chad is pretty cool, after all. He does honestly give examples of himself that are frank and open, and that helps me believe I’m actually normal when I feel the way I do sometimes. I also like it when Chad makes Scripture clearer by telling me about what the original language intended, or the context in which it was written. The applications he gives are also helpful, because I can think about how I can use it today to sharpen my own knowledge and faith.

Well, I’m gonna make a better effort in worship starting now! I want to do this, I’m supposed to do it, and I’m gonna do it!