Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why We Worship Together

I once came across a thought-provoking comment by Warren Wiersbe in his book “The Integrity Crisis”. Commenting on the spiritual climate of Israel during Jeremiah’s time, Wiersbe says “the priests and false prophets peddled a popular brand of religion that gave the people enough experience to make them happy but not enough truth to make them holy.’ It is a statement worth pondering. It helps us to understand that, in corporate worship, the church needs to be a balance of both – an experience of God’s presence together with sound teaching of God’s Word to strengthen as we return back to the world.

It is true to say that God is always present in our lives but in our corporate worship of God, we gain a better picture of who God is and what He has done for our lives. We may be reminded of his sovereignty and power as we sing a hymn like “A Mighty Fortress is our God”. Our hearts may be moved to remember the immeasurable love and mercy of God as we partake of the bread and wine, commemorating an event that Jesus himself inaugurated with his disciples. As we hear the message, we are challenged to align our lives here on earth with God’s agenda and we respond meaningfully with songs like “Lord I offer my life”. When we experience God in this way, it may seem as if we are being lifted up to Heaven.

However, the ultimate goal of worshipping God is not merely the gaining of an emotional experience, per se. Were that so, it would be man-centred! We also need to encounter God in his Word. More than just being a motivational talk or a homily to soothe our fractured psyche, preaching is how God’s Spirit convicts and challenges us to bend our will to his. As we reflect and meditate on the truths of God revealed to us, we are moved to respond. We feel compelled to share Christ with some of our friends who still do not know him. We are moved to change some aspects of our lifestyle that affects our witness to the world. We are moved to confess that certain behavioural changes have to be done, if we want to live God-pleasing lives.

This is how we grow spiritually as a result of our corporate worship. It will prepare us for the week ahead in the way we live our lives. Our encounter with God in our corporate worship will challenge us to better efforts and greater heights in the works and witness that we do before God in our everyday lives. It is then that we become, in truth and in spirit, God’s people.

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