A Thought for the Month
"Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the LORD in the splendour of his holiness; tremble before him all the earth." (Psalm 95.8,9 NIV)
But what is worship? Many have asked that question. Are those who enter places of worship, of whatever kind, really aware that they are gathering in the presence of the Almighty God of Creation
There are three very interesting verses in the letter of James. "If anyone thinks that he is a worshipper of God and yet does not bridle his tongue, his worship is an empty thing. This is pure and undefiled worship, as God the Father sees it, to visit the orphans and the widows, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." (James 1.26-28 ‑ Barclay). The word 'threskeia' is translated in the AV as 'religion' ‑ as means the outward expression of religion or piety. Barclay (1) suggests that what James is really saying is "The finest ritual and the finest liturgy you can offer to God is in the service of the poor and personal purity". Whatever form a Christian meeting or service takes, it has no spiritual value unless the lives of those so assembling reflect God's concern for the most vulnerable in society ‑ world wide.
When members of God's family meet together their thoughts need to focus upon their Father and that begins with quiet individual meditation. Worship may continue in song and prayer, in the study of God's Word or in listening to the preaching from the Word. Some also may feel led to worship in drama and dance. David danced before the LORD. Jeremiah acted out a parable by the banks of the River Euphrates. It is vital that worship should include elements that are genuinely meaningful to young folk. If they cannot share the worship of older Christians they will readily go elsewhere and perhaps to places that do not relate to their spiritual interests.
How important then, that we share the privilege in the right spirit. Before we join our voices in song, those minutes of quietness in His presence create a sense of awe ‑ perhaps in the spirit of the wonderful hymn, 'How Great Thou Art'. And that is when we find His rest.
(1) William Barclay, 'The Daily Bible Study p 61, The letters of James and Peter' (St.Andrews Press 2001)