These times stretch our hearts and minds to explore what we think that we knew, what we felt that we already did – and to review with depth how we each in these new circumstances can worship well, pray with more depth, and love more boldly.
Because most are confined to their homes, we are exploring the ways that we worship. Many, have churches that have shifted to online streaming of Sunday services, fellowship and Bible Studies. Our experiences of gathering to worship with one another and the joys of our choirs and music ministries have shifted to experiences from our homes. Others that were not connected to a church may be longing for a connection to a worshipping fellowship at precisely this time. The news is good, there are resources growing every day for people to connect.
More importantly, we are encouraged to learn to worship well from wherever we are. It is God’s Calling to us as His People.
Worship is the act of paying homage to God. The expression of respect is reverential. In scripture, it often refers to a bowing down, a falling to the ground- with the heart experience of acknowledging the Presence of God. (Matthew 2:11, Matthew 14:33, Revelation 7:11).
Last night, I attended my Covenant Fellowship Group online. Our Pastor, Tom Holliday ( of Alexandria Presbyterian Church) said something that gripped my attention. He offered, “God wants your heart. We don’t notice our true spiritual temperature- what is really going on in our hearts. Stop paying attention to what we are paying attention to. Life is temporal. Don’t ask for this world.”
Our hearts need to awaken to where they belong first. What and who we worship in life. What do we value most? We pay homage to what we worship. He asked us- “Where are our hearts? Where have all of our hearts been?”
We have a chance to rivet our lives and the attention of our hearts to a first cause- Our Creator.
We are instructed to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.
John 4:24 –God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
In the now of our times, we are each experiencing drastic changes in how we live daily life. There are sacrifices, losses, separations from loved ones and circumstances before each of us that we never imagined that we would be facing. All of us are living in what feels like “upside down times”. It feels like things, parts of life, people and beloved ways of life have been torn away from us. But in many cases, we have a unique opportunity to take a new “heart view” of what we may have been holding tightly onto, even putting before our worship of God.
We don’t realize that we made idols out of much of what we “loved so much” in this world, all the activity, pursuits, the outbound reaches that started to occupy our hearts. There is no fault in these things, but perhaps we need to reorder or prioritize what and who we worship.
Do we worship Truth above all else? What is Truth according to Scripture?
John 14:6 –Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 17:17 –Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
True worshipers see Jesus. They look to the Lord as the way, the truth, and the life.
When we, as children of the Light long to know Him more deeply, we need to take honest assessments of our hearts and even use this as a time of encouragement because much that has been removed from our lives in the form of activities and worldly pursuits offers a chance to detach from heart idols. We may feel the loss but be encouraged knowing that in turning our hearts to Christ, in worship, and in truth- there is a great treasure to find and a Kingdom that waits to be discovered.
Deuteronomy 31:8 -It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
1 Chronicles 29:11 –Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.
Quotes on Worship
William Temple — “Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness, the nourishment of the mind with His truth, the purifying of the imagination of His beauty, the opening of the heart to His love, the surrender of the will to His purpose.”
Chuck Swindoll –“To be used of God. Is there anything more encouraging, more fulfilling? Perhaps not, but there is something more basic: to meet with God. To linger in His presence, to shut out the noise of the city and, in quietness, give Him the praise He deserves. Before we engage ourselves in His work, let’s meet Him in His Word… in prayer… in worship”
Jonathan Edwards — “A true love of God must begin with a delight in his holiness.”
Henry Ward Beecher — “I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love.”
Erwin Lutzer — “If we haven’t learned to be worshippers it doesn’t really matter how well we do anything else. Worship changes us or it has not been worship. To stand before the Holy One of eternity is to change. Worship begins in holy expectancy, it ends in holy obedience.”
Prayer ~ True Worshipers
Lift my heart into Your Holy Presence at this moment, in this hour.
Let me be a true worshiper, bring me to You.
Sanctify this ground that I kneel upon, purify my heart, my mind, my soul.
Help me to live and breathe the sweetened airs of Your Holy Spirit
and live the joy of Your renewal and revival here and now.
Be the birth of the fullness of deep grace in me,
Capture my heart and my life with Your Powerful love.
Make me into your servant
so that your Spirit pours love into this world and demonstrates
Your Mercy and Your Peace.
Keep me in Your Grasp and protect those that I love both near and far.
I praise You for walking before us each and for preparing the Way.
May we each see your Glory. May we live for You,
and be drawn to the altar of Your Living Holy Kingdom.
In Christ’s Name
© 2020 Linda Willows