Monday, 2 January 2012

How do You Worship?

The vast majority logging on to this post would be amused by the tree hugger on the right here. But humour aside, that our bodies express the attitude of our hearts is something we cannot get away from. So what does the position we take (literally) when worshipping say about us?

Ancient peoples would (amongst other things) bow before their gods of sun, moon, rain, fertility etc when they worshipped them (Dan.3:5). The people of God would bow in corporate worship before YHWH. (Ex.4:31)

As "modern" people we don't like that kind of thing, it smacks of bondage, servility and ignorance. Secular man doesn't express the worship of his idols through bowing and sacrifices, but through study. He studies the natural world and contemplates it, using the fruits of this contemplation to bestow upon himself ever greater glory in the form of freedom and prosperity.

But modern man is not just a contemplator. At football matches there are always great displays of emotion, however there is no bowing. Modern man will happily and extravagantly love his gods, so long as his gods deliver the goods.

So, that there is little kneeling in most churches may be as much a reflection of the culture they live in as any Biblical conviction. Evangelicals prefer to sit and think about their God rather than bow before him, using their clever reflections to bring glory to Jesus. Charismatics prefer to dance and jump rather than bow, believing that ostentatious displays of affection bring glory to Jesus. It seems when it comes to bowing, only the Catholics, Anglicans Orthodox etc make any significant effort.

I realise I'm grossly stereotyping here so don't get hung up on my straw men, instead, let it be a trigger for the following reflection:

What does the physical position you adopt in private or public worship say about you and your attitude to the Living God? Consider the writer of the book of Hebrews when he says:
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:22-29
It strikes me that he would encourage us to (physical) expressions of exuberance, reverence and contemplation.

Only when you meet the true and living God, does this blend of all three make any sense.

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