Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Passion to Worship

Last Sunday, we worked and prayed our way around the Christian practice of worship. Some say that worship is the most useless of all the Christian practices. Activists would rather be out working and moving things around. Worship seems like a passive and weak activity. In fact, if we let you sit too long and the mood is just right, some of you get a nap. Some of you have mastered the art of sleeping with your eyes open. But, God demands that we worship, that we spend time in his presence in community with others doing what we do: praying, singing, hearing his Word, offering our gifts and then going out to serve. And, we are to get you formed in Christian faith- all in one hour. A friend of mine went to an African American Church one Sunday. He had been invited. He was surprised at the length of the service. At the end of three hours or worship, my friend and the pastor were going out to eat. My friend asked him why they worshiped for three hours. The African American pastor said: “All week long our people live in a culture that tells them they are nothing. It tells them that they come from nothing and that they will never amount to anything. It takes me at least three hours to tell them that they are children of God.” Now, I guess, that many of us already are affirmed to death in the world around us; so, we don’t feel the need to worship for three hours. One hour is enough, thank you very much. It just seems like a waste of time. Well, think of worship as an appointment with God. Once a week you are expected to show up for your appointment, to give God some time, some gifts, some worship in song and prayer. You show up in worship to meet with God. The thing is: if you missed your appointment with someone else, you would likely reschedule. But, God? God is so filled with grace that he allows you to choose. God doesn’t want your worship if it’s out of guilt or out of “have to”. You really don’t have to worship. You are the one who misses out when you don’t worship regularly. You miss your appointment with God. Part of the problem with modern worship is the same problem that was the problem in ancient worship. The problem is that we often see worship as something we do out of superstition. We worship to keep in good standing with God- so we won’t get sick or let anything bad happen to us. And sometimes when something bad does happen to us, and it always does at some point, we may stop going to church thinking it wasn’t doing any good anyway. Ask yourself? Have you ever come to worship God simply because you love God? I love my wife and that means that I want to be with her. If we love God, then worship is one of the ways that God has given us to be with God. You see, it’s not about guilt or about superstition. It’s about love. It always has been. Sure, not every sermon is a stem-winder. Not every hymn is your favorite. Not every prayer stimulates you. And, the offering? Well, we could live without that altogether. But worship is one of the main ways that God gets at us. God will not force himself on you or make you do his will. No, you are invited. You are compelled, called, to come. And what do you get out of it? You get God, the all-loving, all-knowing, Lord of all things comes to you when you worship. Worship- it’s what Christians do. See you in church! Dave Nichols

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Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm new to this, as you can probably see. But, I, like you, have convictions and ideas worth sharing. I hope this will be an opportunity to connect with others who are Christian and/or religious. I am happily United Methodist. I am committed to the basic teachings of our church, and to the compassionate outreach to the world.

I hope these pastoral ponderings will generate something in you that is hopeful.

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About Me

A graduate of Newberry College and Duke University Divinity School.  I have served as a pastor in the United Methodist Church since 1975.

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The Sea of Galilee