Worship – Song

Readings for this week August 15 – 19
Click here for a pdf of this week’s readings

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Day 1  – World Worship

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Psalm 19:1-4, Psalm 148: 7-9

Why do we think that worshiping God requires being something other than what we are? An honest reading of the Psalms will reveal, more than anything else, a gritty honesty. Not just honesty in the sense of telling it like it is, although this is surely there, but an honesty in being who we are. The Psalms seem to tell us that worship is an intrinsically natural expression for all that God created; trees and hills, fantails and water buffalo. How much more, people created in the image of God? All of creation is caught up in the biblical meaning of worship. Creation testifies to God’s power, wisdom, knowledge and sovereignty. Human beings, however, hold a special place when it comes to worshiping the Creator, because we can testify to his love and grace.

“What looks to the flattened-out imagination of the late Western modernity like “lifeless” matter is in fact a world throbbing with God-given life. That life is constantly praising its maker by being, particularly and peculiarly, what it is. Only humans, it seems, have the capacity to live as something other than what they are (God reflectors, image bearers). Trees behave as trees; rocks as rocks; the sea is and does what the sea is and does. And the psalmists look out on it all and see it as a great shout of praise to the God who has made it to be and to flourish.” NT Wright.

Questions to Consider
Does worship come naturally to me? What might be getting in the way?

What ways/settings/aids help me in worshipping God?

Spend a few minutes thinking about what it means for worship to be about being rather than doing.

Prayer
Almighty God, if the inanimate world can display something of your nature, how much more should I be able to worship you for all you are and for all you have done in loving me. Help me engage in worship that reflects who I truly am in relation to you, to your glory, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 2  – Holy Expectation

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God  (2 min)

Scripture Reading – Psalm 42:1-2

Have you ever been guilty of leaving a Sunday service saying to yourself, “Well, I didn’t get anything out of that”? Consider that your preparation and expectation are important factors when making time to worship God.

Expect to be overwhelmed with gratitude.

Expect to be relieved of the burdens you carry.

Expect to encounter the God who loves you passionately.

Expect to be empowered for the tasks that lie ahead.

Expect to have your heart broken with the things that break God’s heart.

Expect to experience joy that cannot be contained.

Expect to be carried when you can no longer walk.

Expect worship to overflow into obedience.

Questions to Consider
When I come to corporate worship, what do I expect?

What activities or attitudes can encourage an expectancy in worship?

How can I build regular worship time into my everyday life outside of formal meeting times? E.g. time driving in the car, exercising….

Prayer
Father God, it is all too easy to become comfortable with Sunday worship and let it become a ritual without any expectation of connecting or receiving anything from you. I ask you to build my anticipation and excitement in making time to worship and praise you, so that our relationship can grow closer, my reliance on you, and my obedience to your promptings, grow stronger, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 3  – More Than Words

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Psalm 19:14

Humility Awe Respect Commitment Testimony Offering Vent
Lay it out Joy Adoration Glory Devotion  Abandonment  Honour
Love Commune Supplication Rant Praise Laugh Conversation
Homag Reverence Shout Sing Admiration Stillness Kneel
Exuberance Sacrifice Silence Adulation Weep Hunger Exaltation

Questions to Consider
Sit briefly with each word. Which ones come easier? Which are hard? Pick an expression of worship that is not a usual one for you and consider how you might include this in your worship this week.

Why might God long for these different expressions of worship? Does he need them or do we?

Prayer
Loving Father, I long to bring all of who I am before you in worship. Help me to be honest and real, knowing when there are times to be silent and times to shout and sing. May my words and the attitude of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 4 – Worship as Witness

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Psalm 96

Has it ever struck you that in the Psalms the Israelites were to praise the Lord among the nations? We see this also in Paul’s writings, Romans 1 and 16, where he talks about the Gentiles coming to glorify God. The word Paul uses for Gentiles actually means nations. There was something about the worship of Israel that was intended to speak to the people surrounding them.

“If God desires every knee to bow to Jesus and every tongue to confess him, so should we. We should be “jealous” (as scripture sometimes puts it) for the honour of his name – troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed, and all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honour and glory which are due to it. The highest of all missionary motives is neither obedience to the Great Commission (important as that is), nor love for sinners who are alienated and perishing (strong as that incentive is, especially when we contemplate the wrath of God) but rather zeal – burning and passionate zeal – for the glory of Jesus Christ… Before this supreme goal of the Christian mission, all unworthy motives wither and die” John Stott.

This is what we might call missional worship; worship that through both our words and deeds, the goodness and greatness of God is declared, and in doing so others are invited to recognise and praise him also.

Question to Consider
Who is watching our worship?

Prayer
Father God, help me honour you through my worship. Help me see that how I treat you and worship you communicates to others how much you mean to me. May I be willing to declare your “marvellous deeds among the nations” that more and more people would come to know you as a loving Father, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 5  – Job Description

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – 1 Peter 2:9-12

In this passage (which should be read as a whole with no stopping for a section heading), Peter is drawing on some Old Testament themes and applying them to the followers of Jesus.

Peter reminds his readers that they had once been in darkness but have been “called out” (echoes of the Exodus story) into God’s wonderful light. “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood”, this is confirming on Christians the titles and identity afforded to the nation of Israel at Mt Sinai (Ex 19). But Israel was chosen for a purpose; to declare the praises of God and bring glory to him. In the same way, Christians inherit this purpose. But Peter goes even further, insisting that worship, in the sense of declaring the wonderful things God has done, is not just a private affair but is also for public consumption, and is in fact, a means by which people who are still in darkness may be drawn to the light of Life.

“Declaring God’s praises together – in our readings, creeds, preaching, psalms, hymns and spiritual songs – is one of our central acts of worship as the people of God…One reason for the central importance of praise is God’s sheer worthiness…Through it, we announce God’s mercy and power to those who overhear us, who have not yet been called out of darkness into his wonderful light” John Stott.

Questions to Consider
Am I affected by hearing other people worshipping God?

How clearly can I articulate what it means to be a “chosen people”? What are we chosen for? How might this change my day to day choices?

How does worshipping God change me?

Prayer
Holy God, thank you that you cared enough for me to not leave me in darkness. Thank you that you call me your special possession, your precious child. Help me live in a way that reflects your great mercy and love, that others may see all you have done in my life, and want to know you and praise you also, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)