A Reminder on Worship

7 08 2007

For about a year now, I’ve been reading through Dallas Willard’s book The Divine Conspiracy. It usually doesn’t take me that long to get through a book, but this isn’t the kind of book you can read in bed or while sitting on the toilet (the two places where I get the bulk of my reading done nowadays).

The Divine Conspiracy is a rich, challenging, spiritually deep volume, full of truths which have made me think long and hard about how I view the Kingdom of God. Willard uses Matthew 5-7, “The Sermon on the Mount”, as the scriptural foundation for the book and he does an outstanding job walking the reader through Jesus’ gospel of the Kingdom. Since I’ve started reading this book – and teaching Matt. 5-7 out in the villages – much of Willard’s arguments, explanations and points have found their way into my spiritual consciousness (as well as those lessons).

Suffice it to say, I highly recommend this book.

So what does this have to do with worship? Well, I’m finally into the last couple of chapters of the book which try to give readers a framework for actually living their lives within the Kingdom and what Willard says about worship really struck me. Here it is (emphases are mine):

To handle the things of God without worship is always to falsify them.

In worship we are ascribing greatness, goodness, and glory to God. It is typical of worship that we put every possible aspect of our being into it, all of our sensuous, conceptual, active, and creative capacities.

In worship we strive for adequate expression of God’s greatness. But only for a moment, if ever do, do we achieve what seems like adequacy. We cannot do justice to God or his Son or his kingdom or his goodness to us.

Worship nevertheless imprints on our whole being the reality that we study. The effect is a radical disruption of the powers of evil in us and around us. Often an enduring and substantial change is brought about. And the renewal of worship keeps the glow and power of our true homeland an active agent in all parts of our being. To “hear and do” in the atmosphere of worship is the clearest, most obvious and natural thing imaginable. (Willard, The Divine Conspiracy, p. 363)

Wow. Did I ever need to hear that!

For a good while now, worship has been routine, rote and even stale to me. How did this come to be? Maybe, somewhere along the line, the feeling of inadequacy caused me to give up the pursuit of expressing God’s greatness in worship. Maybe I’ve allowed my focus to wander from seeking His face. Or maybe I’ve just grown lazy and complacent. Whatever the true reason is, it is probably a combination of “all-the-above” and then some.

How I need to allow a “renewal of worship” in my life! How I need to the “glow and power of the Homeland” as “an active agent” in my life! May God grant me the grace and humility to be brought back to that place. The place where I worship Him with every aspect of my being, seeking to tell Him in any and every way possible how great He really is.

With this little reminder, at least He’s got me looking in the right direction.

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2 responses

8 08 2007
Terry

Thanks Bryan for your thoughts on worship. They are definitely food for thought!

Love always,

Your father-in-law

9 08 2007
Loreli

I am reading Divine Conspiracy and have been for some time now. Like you, I’ve had to take time to digest it. I haven’t gotten to the 300s yet, but I am amazed that almost every page has something that captures both my mind and my spirit. It is fantastic. I add my recommendation to yours.

I am challenged by what you have said here. Thanks.

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