As those who believe in God, one aspect of our belief is based in our relationship with God. That relationship is grounded in our faith, our devotion, our listening and hearing when God speaks to us. One of the most critical parts of our relationship with God is found in our worship.
Worship takes on many different forms for different people. For some, it is a solemn assembly with very specific rubrics; there has to be a formal call to worship, the repetition of a creed or formal statement of belief, a time of formalized prayer, reading of scriptures, exposition on a scripture, a time of offering, and all of this interspersed with music and hymns. This is the kind of worship many of us grew up with. The order, the familiarity, the routine, they are all comforting to us when we come before God to offer our worship.
There are other forms of worship which tend to be more free-flowing, almost seeming to be spontaneous and directed by the Spirit. There is worship where there is no designated leader, but rather relying on the Holy Spirit to give the leadership from whomever the Spirit chooses. There is worship which is mostly sitting in silence before the presence of God. Sometimes scriptures are read, and simple silent meditation follows.
Suffice to say, there are so many forms of worship which we can engage in. None are above or better than the other, simply different.
Growing up, my experience of worship was in very staid and quiet setting. Very formal with all of the components being very familiar to those attending. Hymns were standard, even the rhyme and meter had a sameness to it. As I grew and experienced other styles and forms of worship, I began to wonder which style of worship God prefers. After all, we are worshipping God, shouldn’t it be what is pleasing and acceptable to God?
1 Chronicles 16:29 tells us, “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come into his courts.” In other words, our worship should glorify God, it should be an offering of praise and thanksgiving. Worship should bring us closer to God.
The psalmist says in Psalm 86:12 “I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever.” And then in 95:2-3 “Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.” Worship appears to be pleasing to God when it comes from our inmost being, when we resonate with God’s presence in what we say and do. The Apostle Paul in Romans 12:1 seems to agree with this understanding as he admonishes us, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Our lips, our bodies, our minds, all of who we are should be engaged in worship, that seems to be what pleases God.
As I read through different scripture references to worship it seemed plain that our song, our music carries with it a kind of praise and worship like nothing else. It is the sound we make which reaches the presence of God, and God therefore is present to us in that worshipful noise. A real worship experience can happen when we free ourselves to speak to God, to hear God as God speaks to us, and when our total selves are given over to God.
At Preston Hollow we are intentional in our worship, we aren’t so much looking for perfection, as we are seeking God’s presence in each person who is present. You may see some who are present lifting their hands, some who simply sit quietly, some who shed tears, some who are lost in contemplation. All of these ways of experiencing and worshipping God, when motivated by the Spirit, are not only acceptable to God, they are pleasing to God beyond what we may even perceive.
This coming Sunday, August 27th, we have a very special worship experience planned which will be filled with music and song. Many have been absent during the Summer months, and now we are hoping to see everyone present in worship. The Preston Hollow Singers of Praise have been preparing a time of awesome worship. We are hoping you will be present with us, and that you will invite others to come. Our goal is not to fill the seats, but to present a worship which is pleasing to God, and which brings each of us closer to God’s presence. See you Sunday!
Your fellow traveler on the Way,