~ Psalm 96:9 ESV
We gather weekly for worship, but what does that mean to us personally and we might ask ourselves why we do so? The word worship quite literally means to give worth to something, or to revere and show respect to or for something or someone. Sundays services are intended for the purpose of revering God, which also includes many blessings for us. We receive peace, a timely word from Scripture, or encouragement from brothers and sisters in Christ as we come together toward that end. In fact, this shouldn’t surprise us, because we were created for worship!
J.I. Packer notes, “To worship God is to recognize his worth or worthiness; to look God-ward, and to acknowledge in all appropriate ways the value of what we see. The Bible calls this activity ‘glorifying God’ or ‘giving glory to God,’ and views it as the ultimate end, and from one point of view, the whole duty of man.” Heaven is continual worship of God, as we behold His glory and enjoy His presence forever (to paraphrase Saint Augustine). Yet, being in His presence and knowing God doesn’t have to wait until we meet Him in heaven. Have you considered that? Heaven meets earth each time we worship God. Weekly we pray, ‘thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,’ in the Lord’s Prayer. Although worship should happen daily, Sundays serve as a template for us.
Weekly we gather, making entering into God’s presence a priority. We place other things on hold on Sundays in order to place value on what is most important in our lives. We orient our lives and schedules to begin the first day of the week with God as our priority. We bring our best to God as we enter into His presence and are reminded of this as the priest prays in the Eucharistic prayer, “we offer and present to you, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, living sacrifice…”
There are many ways we offer the best of ourselves on Sundays, which serve as a model for us during the week. We could arrive earlier to worship, even 15 minutes before it service begins, to still our hearts in prayer as we focus upon the reason we are present and to prepare ourselves for worship.We join into the service and worship in heaven by lifting up our voices in song more vibrantly, realizing that it is not the quality of the voice but the quality of the heart that God looks into. We can find ways to engage our whole being in worship, in addition to our voice, as we bring ourselves to love Him with “all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind (which we hear as we begin services weekly).” We seek to listen and to give our best in terms of what God lays on our heart to further His Kingdom through our gifts and talents.
The model we set on Sundays can become the template for the rest of the week. We can rise earlier to worship God before grabbing our phone, or remote to click on the TV, or our coffee mug. We can lift up our voice to be available to God beyond the hour and half we are in church on Sunday, as we offer our gifts and talents in the world to model rightly order lives around the One we were created to worship.
My friends, our journey of discipleship is held together in worship. We receive so much more than we can ever offer to God. We can never repay or out give God. However, we can give Him our best. May our worship be contagious and infectious, as others see our hearts in the reverence, joy, and thanksgiving we have on Sunday mornings, which shapes our lives for the week to come!