The Heart of Worship

In preparing for Sunday’s sermon, I have a great computer program that searches my electronic library.  In regards tot he passage from 1 Corinthians 6, this was one of the citations:

 “11. But in order that the liturgy may be able to produce its full effects, it is necessary that the faithful come to it with proper dispositions, that their minds should be attuned to their voices, and that they should cooperate with divine grace lest they receive it in vain28. Pastors of souls must therefore realize that, when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the mere observation of the laws governing valid and licit celebration; it is their duty also to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects.[i] 

If you look below, you will find the source, but this could have been written by Lutherans…. for our confessions state that the chief purpose of all liturgy is to teach/give people what they need to know about Christ.  To me it doesn’t matter whether the liturgy is contemporary, traditional, Celtic, Maronite, orthodox, simple or complex, accompanied by organs larger than some buildings, acapella, or guitar – it is to serve people – they are to be assured of God’s mercy, His love, His friendship, they are to be able to give voice to the praise that wells up inside them as they hear that they, yes they, are welcome into God’s presence, and He delights in their presence.  That is what it is about – whether in a cave or cathedral, basilica or at a park.  God’s people, gathered by Him into a family, which celebrates His presence, His love.

It was never meant to be a spectator sport, where the people of God just get to observe the movements, and listen to the music and sermon.  It is far more like a wedding dance, where God leads, we follow, and our eyes are glued to Jesus, even as a bride cannot take her eyes off her husbands.  Where we are amazed at the grace, the incredible fluid nature of the blessings He pours out on us, on the way He enjoys the life He has given us, the life He shares with us.

If you are a pastor – help people to realize what they have – help them, guide them in their participation.  The same advice I would give choirs and praise teams, Ministers of Worship and Cantors, ushers and greeters, and all who serve.
If you are a visitor or a long time member – don’t hesitate to ask what this part of the service is, why we do this or that.  The answer make day a bit – but you will be encouraging others to know what we do, why we do it, as well.

And in all things – may we encourage, may we lift people up, that they may never receive the grace of God in vain.

For the Lord is with you!

28 Cf. 2 Cor. 6:1.

[i] Catholic Church. (2011). Vatican II Documents. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on June 19, 2012, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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