Wednesday, March 17, 2004

On Worship...

R. C. Sproul’s March 4th broadcast, Surely God Is In This Place, touches on a subject that has been tugging at me for some time. Is the way we worship relevant? Is the way we act in the sanctuary relevant? Is the sanctuary itself relevant? Sproul says,
“Nothing reveals more clearly what your church believes about the character of God, than how you worship. You can take your confessions, your doctrinal statements, your programs, and roll ‘em up and throw ‘em in the garbage can because they don’t mean anything, in terms of what really is being expressed about the character of God, as in your worship. “Our problem in not an architectural problem, it’s not even a musical problem, …the problem is people are coming to church and have no sense of the presence of God. In fact the basic sense of the American person in our day is a profound sense of the absence of God.”
As we enter the church sanctuary do we respond as if we are in the presence of God? More than likely what we hear upon entering the sanctuary is not silent reverence, but the frivolity of socialization in the form of idle talk. More than likely what we see after the service has started is not a focused attention on God's presence, but the interruptions of people arriving late. More than likely what we see is not a group of Christian disciples showing respect in their dress, but people dressed primarily to derive comfort. Have you ever entered a Catholic church such as one of the California Missions or a cathedral in Europe? How did you feel? What drives that response? Sproul asked the same question to his seminary students. He was surprised at the responses. Typically the response is that one feels a sense of reverence… the need to be quiet… that one is in a holy place.
Now Moses was shepherding the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to the mountain of God, to Horeb. The Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from within a bush. He looked—and the bush was ablaze with fire, but it was not being consumed! So Moses thought, “I will turn aside to see this amazing sight. Why does the bush not burn up?” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him from within the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” God said, “Do not come near here. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He also said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. - Exodus 3:1-6 NET
Is God any less holy today?

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