I see a Church … which knows how to bring glory to Jesus through worship.

I see a Church …

During this season of lockdown we have more time to re-evaluate our faith and our practices as a follower of Jesus.

I have been thinking of the desires of Jesus in his prayer, hours before his death.

John 17 v 6-26

 “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them” v10.

Jesus prayed it because he wanted it. He still does.

I see a Church … which knows how to bring glory to Jesus through worship.

Glory has come to me through them. An incredible thing to say!

May our lives be filled with His beauty and character, the Chabod, the weightiness, so that when we lift up His name in honour and praise Jesus receives all the glory.

Of course we can glorify Christ in many ways but the Bible associates worship as the main way we glorify Him. All of our lives is worship but the activity of centring our hearts and minds totally on Jesus in a corporate song or prayer has no compare.

The Bible if full of exhortations to call on the Lord and sing to Him, to praise, to bless and to lift up His Name.

Psalm 29 v2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name; worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness.

Psalm 115 v1 Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.

I am sure we are all missing being together, singing songs of worship and bringing glory to the Lord. It is quite difficult to do that on zoom!

However during this lockdown and being away from our buildings we have an opportunity to think again about the worship we offer Him. I wonder if the Church has become quite boring. Is it possible that the spiritual discipline of worship has not changed in our lives for some time? There has been no variety. Could it be that the picture of our Church worship has only consisted mainly of standing, sitting, singing and clapping our hands for years? Is the majority of our worship only found in a building?

Now of course worship comes from the heart otherwise it isn’t worship at all. But look what Paul tells us in in Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?”
“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

And we all cry out AMEN at Paul’s exuberant worship. But then he follows on with this: Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. (12:1) At a time when heresies like Gnosticism was attacking the church with its belief that the spiritual is good but the physical is bad. Paul says offer your bodies. They are to be used as worship to God. Worship is not just that of the heart and mind, it involves the body. Incarnational worship bringing glory to Christ.

In this lockdown we are not in our church buildings. We are at home. Perhaps we have an opportunity to worship in a way we haven’t for a long time and certainly what we don’t usually do in our buildings on a Sunday.

We know the Bible encourages us to SING: Speaking to one another in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, Ephesians 5:19. It suggests joy, honour and gratitude in our hearts for God. We also know the Bible encourages us to CLAP OUR HANDS: “Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy” Psalm 47 v1. We do it to applaud God for who He is and what He has done. We also know, using the same verse, that the Bible encourages us to SHOUT acknowledging our victory in God. We know the Bible encourages us to STAND: Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up.” Nehemiah 8:5. We do it to show respect to God.

But what about the other Biblical positions of worship?

I am a HAND-RAISER but only when I sing songs not when I pray (see Nehemiah 8 v6). It is a sign of deep reverence to His authority. I have an African close friend who I have never seen pray without holding his hands up. I very rarely do that at home in private either. Why don’t I do that?

At home I have no problem KNEELING down, it shows I am bringing a petition with humility to God. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker. Psalm 95:6. The Bible encourages us to take up such a position but the Churches I attend we do more standing and sitting than kneeling. Why don’t I do that publicly?

If I am going to feel nervous kneeling in public worship when everyone else is standing then I am certainly not going to LAY PROSTRATE on the floor. I wonder how many would even if the worship leader instructed us to.  We would get down there but probably not get up! But the Bible encourages us to do so (Ezekiel 9 v8). I will do it at home as it signifies vulnerable and humble submission to God, but it’s not a regular Sunday morning occurrence for me in a Church building.

What about SHOUTING? “Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart” Psalm 32 v11. To acknowledge our victory in God. Home or Building? Maybe neither?!

What about DANCING (more than swaying or toe tapping!) to indicate great celebration? “Let them praise His name with the dance ..” Psalm 149 v3 Home or Building?

Finally a big one! What about SILENCE? “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him” Habakkuk 2:20 Moving into inner peace, free of all distractions. Home or Building? We certainly have that opportunity in lockdown.

Of course some of these positions of worship are more suitable to corporate settings. For example when I am singing along to some praise song at home I don’t think I ever clap my hands. Clapping for me seems better suited in a gathering. But I’m probably wrong.

But maybe if we practiced some new positions of worship at home in lockdown then come the time we are in our buildings we could be making Sunday services quite different indeed!

I see a Church … which knows how to bring glory to Jesus through worship.

Maybe the good thing about this lockdown is that it gives us all an opportunity to try something new with our bodies because no one is watching us. To worship God with a new position and maybe with the significance in mind could bring further glory to Jesus. Perhaps when we get back to our buildings worship will look different. Maybe that’s a good thing.

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