Tuesday, 9 October 2012

All Saints Word - Inspiring Worship

Inspiring worship. 

Worship (whatever the style) which inspires people, enabling them to connect with God in a way which energises and sustains them, and which is such a positive experience that it is a highlight of their week to which they want to bring others along. #5/8 "8 Qualities if Healthy Growing Churches"

What is this quality?
 Psalm 65, Mat 26:14-30
So you come to church. You sing a bit. You pray a bit. You might have trhe notices. Well, as Morecambe and Wise would say: “What do you think of it so far?” - (the old people will get that one). Am I feeling inspired yet?
We live in a consumer society. We educate ourselves – and our children – to be discerning and to make good choices. We know how to evaluate and select what will meet our needs from the plethora of options available. We want to get the best out of everything. We have a theological view of the world that says “all things were created by us and for us”. So, when we consider worship, churches, cell groups, websites, that is often the approach we take. Lets make it better. If this is not doing it for me. Choose something else. There are good and bad things in this.

Good: We won't be satisfied with humdrum, routine or sloppy, insincere worship. We will expect worship to touch our emotions and our spirits. We will want to be drawn closer in worship to an experience of the spirit of the risen Jesus.
Bad: We will tend to see worship as something we consume. More like a football team to support or a theatrical or musical entertainment. Or maybe like a flu relief tablet which needs to deal with our aches and pains, dry up our tears and give us a bit of a lift as well.

How is Worship to be “inspiring”? 2 Tim 3:16 says “All scripture is inspired by God” - or “God-breathed”. Inspiring means being breathed into by God. Does that happen? How could it happen more?

How is it shown in Jesus?
Do we see this in Jesus? Would Jesus do St. Matthew Passion? Would Jesus do Soul Survivor or Spring Harvest Big Top? What do we see in Jesus' worship? Look at Matthew 18
  • Worship that springs out of God's mission purpose – the last supper as model worship v17
  • Worship that embraces human failure – betrayal and denial are included v 21
  • Worship that focuses on Jesus' sacrificial actions – Bread & Wine represent His offering for us v27
  • Worship that is life offered to the Father –  they and a hymn and wenbt out to the Garden. "Not my will but yours be done" v30

How is it shown in the NT Church?
We don't get a service sheet from the NT church. They started in the synagogue – and got ejected. They met at the riverside, in homes as they were arrested in the temple, underground and in locked rooms for fear of the oppressors. They were engaged in mission. They broke bread, shared the gifts of the Spirit in prophecy and tongues and teaching. They were eclectic, ecclesiastic, gathered people of God. Buildings were not involved. The people meeting together to meet with their God. And God showed up.

How is it shown in us?
Is that what we are doing? Its not so much about wonderfully professional presentation or content. Compare the old backs to the wall Coventry City FC at crumbling Highfield Rd where fans, manager, team were united in adversity with the lifeless echoing splendid Ricoh where everyone moans. Does our worship spring out of what God is calling us to do together? Does our worship help us to face up to our human failures? Does it rely on what Jesus has done for us? Does it enable us to offer our lives in God's service? Are we the people of God gathered together to meet with Him today?Does God still show up?

What about "me"?
You know how it is when you are invited to a wedding when you are hard up? If you don't know them very well. If you don't know what present you could get that would be acceptable without wasting any of your hard earned cash, you send a polite excuse. They won't miss you anyway. But if you are invited to your best friends wedding you know that they want you to be there. The present is immaterial (and therefore, as a bonus, cheap!). You wouldn't miss it for the world. That's inspiring worship. There has to be something in you that can be drawn out by what we do in church together. Worship can't put it in. But it can let it out.

What lets it out best for you?
What could you do that would help those around you? 

Robin Trew
Allesley 7-10-2012

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