Principles for Christians Worship (2)
The Worship Sourcebook, © 2004, Faith Alive Christian Resources, mentions eight principles for Christian worship. Such worship should be biblical, dialogic, covenantal, trinitarian, communal, welcoming, “in but not of” the world, and excellent. A few weeks ago we look at the first four; today we will look at the remaining four.
5. Christian worship is communal. There is private worship, family worship, and then there is congregational worship. As a congregation there are different things we do together. We have our Bible studies and Love Ottawa! activities, but you really see the church in action when, on Sunday, we gather together to worship our common Saviour. Our unity with one another is deepened. It is remarkable that people who have vastly different interests, characters, personalities, hobbies, etc., yet gather together one day every week to read and listen, to pray and praise. It is the work of the Holy Spirit.
6. Christian worship is hospitable, caring and welcoming. Everyone needs to feel welcome here. As we gather, we are the house of God, the body of Christ. Christian worship is not self-centred. We seek the well-being of the other member and of the visitor. The first minute after a new-comer enters the church building is so very important. If he does not feel welcomed, likely he’ll not return. Our practice of greeters in the narthex is important to let someone feel welcome, as is noticing if a visitor needs a songbook. From my perch I see this happening. It’s good and let’s keep it up.
7. Christian worship is “in but not of” the world. In many ways, our worship reflects the culture out of which we come. Patterns of speech and song, modes of dress, and sense of time vary widely from place to place. The worship of a Canadian church looks and sounds different from that of a church in Africa or PNG. At the same time, worship ought not be enslaved to culture. It needs to speak out against any aspects of culture that are opposed to the gospel of Christ.
8. Christian worship must be excellent. Worship calls for our best because the Lord deserves our best. In preaching and listening, singing and accompanying, the Lord calls us to excellence. Where something is lacking, we strive for improvement. Striving for excellence starts before Sunday and includes things like getting a good night’s sleep Saturday night so that we come to church rested and ready to worship. Let us, in our worship, put forward the excellence of which our God is worthy. ~gvp