God Centered Worship September 22, 2014
Lastweek’s column was a meditation on the fact that, according to the NewTestament, all of life is worship. Yet it remains true that our Sundaygathering is uniquely devoted to activities and attitudes of worship in acorporate sense. So how do we put those meetings together? What qualitiescharacterize our worship services?
First and foremost, we wantour Sunday gatherings to be God-centered. We believe God is entirely supremeover all things. In other words, God’s glory is the motive and goal for allthat God does and all that exists, including worship. Biblical worship beginsand ends with God. Furthermore, God exists as three persons, and Christianworship should recognize all three members of the Trinity.
In addition, we believe God isthe greatest joy of the human heart. The paradox of worship is this: thatdeeply soul-satisfying worship is found only when we forsake our own joy andinstead aim to bring joy to God.
This view of God is highlyrelevant to corporate worship for several reasons. First, it furnishes the goalfor our corporate worship: to glorify God. Second, it implies the standard forour corporate worship: the character of God. And third, it identifies theprimary audience for our corporate worship: the Triune God.
Practically, this value ofGod-centeredness means:
- We engage incorporate worship as an end in itself—namely, to give glory to God, rather thanas a means to some other corporate or personal end.
- We evaluate allaspects of our corporate worship by how well they reveal and reflect God’scharacter and worth.
- We emphasize thegospel in our corporate worship, recognizing this is where God’s character andworth are best seen and enjoyed.
- We emphasize theScriptures in our corporate worship, believing the Bible is the tool the HolySpirit uses to reveal the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
- We name all threemembers of the Trinity in various elements of our corporate worship,demonstrating that all three are essential to worship and entitled toworship.
- We oppose thenotion that worship meetings should be designed first and foremost to reachunbelievers, recognizing instead that the only “seeker” in biblical worship isGod (cf. Jn 4:23).
- We expect ourcongregation to find deep, soul-satisfying joy as we worship God together,reflecting the paradox of “losing our life in order to find it.”