5.20.2013

The Object of Corporate Worship

Mike Cosper, in his book Rhythms of Grace, makes a key observation about the nature of corporate worship. Here is my summary what Mike calls the worship one-two-three:
One: God is the object and the author of worship. 
Two: Worship happens when God’s people are scattered and gathered.  
Three: God, the Church, and the world witness our worship.
I was thinking about the implications of God being the object of our worship and pondered the following ponderings.

Do we worship God according to His self-revelation or to a false image of God? In our corporate worship, God is the only object of our worship and we worship God. We do not gather together to engage in an activity called “worship”; we worship something, namely, God. God is to be the sole object of our worship. When we gather, we direct all our honoring, thanksgiving, praising, exalting, and exulting towards God. As the formerly blind man fell at Jesus feet and worshiped Jesus when he received Jesus’ self-revelation (John 9:37-38), so we are to respond to God as we receive God’s story – the gospel. It makes much sense to then fill our corporate gatherings with Scripture – reading, reciting, preaching – so that there will be no doubt in the congregation as to who God says He is and so that God’s Spirit may actively work in us through the Scriptures.

God’s self-revelation should also cause us to evaluate carefully the words of the songs we sing. Consider the following:

  • Do the songs we sing accurately reflect who God is and what He has done? Are we singing false or faulty doctrine? (This implies one must have and know doctrine first.)
  • Do we have an imbalanced song collection where we focus inordinately on certain characteristics of God and neglect others?
  • Can the songs we sing be sung by one living the normal Christian life or do the songs we sing portray the redeemed life as one of all triumph or as one of gloom?
  • Do the songs we sing represent a mere mishmash of spiritual phrases? Do our songs sound more like a word-bank for worship buzzword bingo – praise, love, glory, fire, desire, king, sing – than coherent lyrics which tell God’s story that we sing along to? Contrary to the apparent beliefs of some popular songwriters, singing “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” ad infinitum might not be the best method of vocalizing our praise to God.

There is much more to be thought through and more to be said about such a topic.

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