Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Worship Assembly

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
 Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 

 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

We live in an age of planned and rehearsed worship. Everyone has likes and dislikes with regard to how worship should be. Some would prefer the more formal and constantly solemn approach to the Sunday assembly, while others are  inclined to be moved by the more open and experiential worship. 

As far as I can tell, the scripture doesn't give us a step by step plan from a playbook concerning every aspect of the assembly. We know from scripture and tradition our meeting together includes singing, praying, preaching, communion, and giving, however even those elements of the assembly are not specifically described. 

When Psalm 100 is read in its entirety, the psalmist is producing a picture of the attitude of worship, and the involvement of the assembled crowd in sharing their emotions, feelings and beliefs.  I must say that while my preference is just that, my preference, I am more inclined to enter the presence of God with a sense of awe and respect. 

 That being said, I now confess to you my yearning to also shout for joy and worship the Lord with gladness. Other admonitions from the psalm include entering his gates with thanksgiving and praise, knowing his goodness, his enduring love, and the continuation of his faithfulness.  These are the "meat" of worship that please God.  These things come, not from a weekly ritual of repeating the same things or even the same order of things and calling it worship, they come from hearts that are united in seeking a deeper relationship with God while encouraging others in their spiritual journey. 


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