The Desire to Worship

NIV Psalm 95:6  Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;

I use the book “Divine Hours” by Phyllis Tickle as a prayer guide in my daily prayers.  I deeply enjoy the discipline of keeping the offices of prayer.  It has been a very rewarding (and at times) challenging practice.  The office allow God to speak to me in ways I might have missed otherwise.

One of yesterdays readings caused me a bit of uneasiness.   It had to do with God’s desire for authentic worship and God’s disdain for “playing” at worship.  It also reminded me of a quote I used to keep on my desk:

“Most middle-class Americans tend to:
worship their work;
work at their play; and
play at their worship.
That which we worship, we serve,
and that which we serve we will give our all–heart, soul, mind and body.”

-Gordon Dahl

The last thing I want to do is to “play” at my worship.  However, staying true to doing liturgy (the work of the people) is not easy when the culture looks at worship simply as an option in their lives.  Worship becomes something we attend.  It becomes something we chose to do.  It is something which should meet our “needs” or we will not attend (since we “pay” i.e., give money we should get what we want).

In our culture going to church or worshiping is something we do when we have the time or the inclination or it does not conflict with our schedule.  We pick the church or churches we attend based not on seeking true worship but on the style, comfort, familiarity, or the church’s potential to be used to meet other selfish needs.  The the rise of the market-driven “church” that is more focused on niche marketing and be specialty shop that a vessel for the worship of God and the presence of Jesus on this earth.

Isaiah 29:13  The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.  These words are echoed by Jesus:  Matthew 15:7-9  You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:  “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'”

The above verses were used by some to blast the traditions of worship handed down by the church.  However, it is not the tradition that is being condemned but the attitude of the heart.

Is this where we are at?

John 4:23-24  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

The word for truth also carries with it the meaning of genuine, real.  It is my prayer and growing desire that in God’s bringing about perfection in me that I willingly and eagerly seek to be above all a true worshiper who lives not by the desire of my selfish nature but through the altruistic nature of the Spirit of God that draws me to gather with others who:  Psalm 95:6   Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.