"It's singing awesome songs, hearing interesting talks, thinking about improving yourself and helping other people - and doing that in a community with wonderful relationships."
Sounds like the definition of worship in a lot of churches today doesn't? But it's not. This definition came from Sanderson Jones, a comedian in England who has started a mega-church for atheists. The idea is catching on. According to an Associated Press article, there are more than three dozen such "churches" in the United States and Australia. Jones and his fellow comedian Pippa Evans want to raise $800,000 to "help atheists launch their pop-up congregations around the world."
Worship is not just singing awesome songs and hearing interesting talks about self-improvement.
Worship is being with God through His Word and Sacrament and receiving His blessings. Worship is praying, confessing sins, and receiving absolution (forgiveness). Worship is not singing vague songs of praise, but it is praising God very specifically (theologically) as He has revealed Himself in the Bible. Worship is focusing on God's word to understand it and to realize its impact upon us. The Holy Spirit is always coming to us through the Word to bring us and to keep us in the faith. Worship is confessing the faith with all Christians who have ever lived using the ancient creeds, the very same words they used in their worship. Worship is bowing and kneeling before God, who speaks to us and comes to us in Word and Sacrament.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews said: "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire" (12:28-29).
Prayer: Dear God, we thank You for the gift of worship. You come to us in Your Word and Sacraments to give us faith and to strengthen us for faithful living. We thank You for the truth of Your Law and the mercy of Christ, who died on the cross to bring us into Your Kingdom. Teach us to serve You in our worship and in our work with reverence and godly fear. Amen.
Hymn: Blessed Jesus, at Your Word Listen
Blessed Jesus, at Thy word
We are gathered all to hear Thee;
Let our hearts and souls be stirred
Now to seek and love and fear Thee,
By Thy teachings, sweet and holy,
Drawn from earth to love Thee solely.
All our knowledge, sense, and sight
Lie in deepest darkness shrouded
Till Thy Spirit breaks our night
With the beams of truth unclouded.
Thou alone to God canst win us;
Thou must work all good within us.
Glorious Lord, Thyself impart,
Light of Light, from God proceeding;
Open Thou our ears and heart,
Help us by Thy Spirit’s pleading;
Hear the cry Thy people raises,
Hear and bless our prayers and praises.
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Praise to Thee and adoration!
Grant that we Thy Word may trust
And obtain true consolation
While we here below must wander,
Till we sing Thy praises yonder.