The Danish Philosopher, Kierkegaard, compared worship to a dramatic production.
In worship, it often seems as though the worship leader is the actor and God is the prompter, whispering into his ear, telling him what dto do next. The congregation listen and, at the end, the ‘applaud’ if they like the way he’s led worship, or throw things if they don’t!
But Kierkegaard said that’s all back to front. In reality, God is the audience, the congregation are the actors, and the person leading the worship is the prmopter, simply keeping the production going.
So when we come together to worship, we come wanting to please God alone, offering him our very best.
Frogs in Cream p123
“Sacrifice is the essential act of external worship. It is a prayer which is acted, a symbolic action which expresses both the interior feelings of the person offering it, and God’s response to this prayer. It is rather like tha symbolic actions of the prophets. By sacrificial rites, the gift made the God is accepted, union with God is achieved and th eguilt of the man is taken away. But these effects are not achieved by magic, it is essential that the external action should express the trus inner feelings of man, and that it should be favourably received by God.”
Roland De Vaux – Ancient Israel, P451
“Believers need to know by experience that the Most High God is the Most Nigh God”
Howard Snyder, New Wineskins p63
1500 Illustrations P402
While I was serving in Paraguay, a Maka Indian named Rafael came to sit on my porch. I was eating and went out to see what he wanted. He responded, “Ham, henek met.” Again I asked what I could do for him, but the answer was the same. I understood what he was saying but not its significance: “I don’t want anything; I have just come near.”
I later shared the incident with a local veteran missionary. He explained that it was Rafael’s way of honoring me. He really didn’t want anything; he just wanted to sit on my porch. He found satisfaction and pleasure just being near me.
“What brings you here, my child?” the Lord asks.
“Ham, henek met.”
Doesn’t that reveal the heart of true worship?
Stuart Sacks, Villanova, Pennsylvania – Preaching Today
Worship … fits right into the consumerism that so characterizes American religious life. Church-shopping has become common. A believer will compare First Presbyterian, St. John’s Lutheran, Epiphany Episcopal, Brookwood Methodist, and Bethany Baptist for the “best buy.” The church plant, programs, and personnel are carefully scrutinized, but the bottom line is, “How did it feel?” Worship must be sensational. “Start with an earthquake and work up from that,” advised one professor of homiletics. “Be sure you have the four prerequisites of a successful church,” urged another; “upbeat music, adequate parking, a warm welcome, and a dynamite sermon.” The slogan is, “Try it, you’ll like it.”
Duane W. H. Arnold and C. George Fry in “Weothscrip” (Eternity, Sept. 1986).
Bobby Sanderson, minister of music at the First Baptist Church, Columbus, Mississippi, has written that he read an article about worship. In that article, the author said, “I wish I could get my people to stop evaluating worship and start experiencing it.” Sanderson says that he began asking himself some hard questions:
1. Is worship about God or is it about what I like?
2. Do I seek God’s presence or the comfort of being with friends and doing what is familiar?
3. When is the last time God “blind-sided” me and spoke in a way I did not expect?
4. Am I so contemporary I lose the transcendence of God?
5. Am I so traditional that I forget God’s relevance?
6. Do I see myself as part of an audience giving approval/disapproval to worship leaders?
7. Can God use what I don’t like?
8. Am I more into music than the spoken word?
9. Do I ignore the command to sing just to get to the “message”?
10. Do I leave worship with a clear sense of what I’m supposed to do?
11. Is the style of worship more important to me than the object of worship?
12. Do I love His presence as much as the songs I sing and play?
13. Can I worship Him when it’s hard work and my joy is running low?
Any of us more than twenty-five years old can probably remember where we were when we first heard of President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963.
British novelist David Lodge, in the introduction to one of his books, tells where he was–in a theater watching the performance of a satirical revue he had helped write. In one sketch, a character demonstrated his nonchalance in an interview by holding a transistor radio to his ear. The actor playing the part always tuned in to a real broadcast. Suddenly came the announcement that President Kennedy had been shot. The actor quickly switched it off, but it was too late. Reality had interrupted the staged comedy. For many believers, worship, prayer, and Scripture are a nonchalant charade. They don’t expect anything significant to happen, but suddenly God’s reality breaks through, and they’re shocked.
The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.
C. S. Lewis
Singer Boy George said, “On Sunday I attended the christening of my year-old godson Michael, and he was as restless as everyone else. The priest was a lovely man with impeccable dress sense, but I was confused from the moment he took the pulpit. Most of us only ever go to church for weddings and funerals, so sticking to the Book is pointless…and what’s the point of rattling on about sin when most of us are doomed to eternal damnation? It doesn’t warm people to Christianity, it only makes them feel like hypocrites. Worse still are the utterly depressing hymns. I’d like to see live music, acoustic guitars, and percussion. Church should be a joyous and liberating experience–[it] badly needs a facelift because it is God’s theatre on earth, and he should be packing them in.”
Boy George, London’s Daily Mail, Feb. 23, 2000
The first video is from Ignite Media www.ignitermedia.com
The second is another version of the same audio with different images. Higher quality copies of this one are available here: http://www.4-14.org.uk/thats-my-king-s-m-lockridge
Great to use during a Sunday service or within a small group.
The late S.M. Lockridge once presented an incredible message, describing our God and who He is. Though God can’t be described with just words, this is as close as you can get this side of Heaven.