Worship – Acts

Readings for this week August 22 – 26
Click here for a pdf of this week’s readings

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Day 1 – A Reason Not to Worship?

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Job 1:20-21

Sometimes honouring God is the last thing we feel like doing. Today we read about a man who had many reasons to blame God, but chose not to.

Job’s life was in a mess. His children were dead, he’d lost everything he owned, and was tortured by a painful illness. We might understand it if Job turned his back on God. The pain and hardship that he was experiencing would probably be more than enough for most people to “curse God and die”, as Job’s wife was encouraging him to do. But he didn’t. In spite of hurt and tragedy he turned towards God and worshipped him. Why? Because Job knew God was still God and was worthy of his worship. God was bigger than his situation. God was more reliable and real than his own feelings. Job trusted that God was still in control even if he couldn’t feel it, and his life was a mess.

It is tempting for us to give in to ‘if it feels good, do it’, or to think that if something is hard, God can’t be in it. But how we feel is not the most important thing. Emotions can so easily cloud our view. God is always worth worshipping, no matter how we feel or what our situation is. There is plenty of room for our emotions in worship – indeed, we know that we are meant to offer our entire being to God – but worship does not depend on how we feel. God is bigger than that.

Question to Consider
What is the difference between going through the motions of worship, and really worshipping God even though we don’t feel like it?

Prayer
Lord God, in the good moments, in the bad moments, when I feel like it, when I don’t, you are still my God and I choose to worship you in all I do. Help me be faithful to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 2 – Who We Worship With

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – 1 Chronicles 29:10-22

Our entire life is a gift to us, and is to be given back to God as a life-long act of worship. We often think this is a solo task, something that we do on our own, with occasional input from other people. But that’s not the case at all. Worship is a communal act too, something that the community does together. In today’s reading the entire community gets together to focus on God. There are times when we gather together specifically for the purposes of worshipping our God together.

Although we can worship God on our own it’s also a key community activity. Individual worship is valuable, but there is a new dimension when we gather as a group of his followers. We can only really begin to get a sense of who we are as God’s ‘people’ when we worship together. When we do this God is with us in a way that binds us together with a common purpose.

When King David worshiped with his community he asked, ‘Who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?’ David was amazed at what he and his people accomplished together as part of their worship to God. Who we worship with is important. Worship is not just something that happens between a person and God. It is something we do as a people.

Questions to Consider
Who are your people? Do you worship regularly with them? How? How does this affect your life as an act of worship?

Prayer
Loving Father, thank you for the community of faith you have placed me in. May I play my part in the community’s worship and honouring of you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 3 – Honesty in Life and Worship

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Mark 14:32-34

Pretending that things aren’t that bad—hiding things from God—can only hurt us and limit what God can do in us. We have to be open to admitting our weaknesses. This was Jesus’ moment of greatest struggle. He had to face that he was about to die cruelly by crucifixion. In talking to God he didn’t hold back. Jesus’ prayer was a raw and uncensored expression of his anguish, an honest offering of himself to God.

But look at where he is at this crucial time—among his friends. One of his key actions at this time of desperation was to seek help from the community, from the people who were closest to him. He turned to his disciples, his friends, and asked them to stay with him and pray for him. We need to learn to be honest at all times, including in our times of worship, with God and each other. This is what God expects of us. We don’t have to hide behind fancy words, we don’t need to pretend things aren’t so bad, and we certainly must not hide our sins.

When we share these things with others and invite them to pray with us and for us God does his greatest work. When we stand in worship before our God and with our community, exposed and vulnerable, hiding nothing, the worship – and the life – we offer God becomes a key way the journey to complete restoration begins.

Questions to Consider
What are the areas in your life where you struggle to be honest with God? With your community? What is the next step for you to make sure you continue on this journey of vulnerability?

Prayer
Almighty God, help me be honest with you and with those with whom I worship you. May I continually offer you an honest, open life. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 4 – Acts of Worship

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – Luke 10:38-42

Call to Worship

Come and worship!

Be still and aware of God’s presence

within and around you.

(Pause)

Come and worship!

Be still and aware of Jesus’ presence

within and around you.

(Pause)

Come and worship!

Be still and aware of the Spirit’s presence

within and around you.

(Pause)

Be still and know the presence of the Triune God,

the Father to whom we come,

the Son through whom we come,

the Spirit by whom we come.

(Pause)

Hear his word:

Be STILL and know that I am God.

(by Rev. Dr. A.R. Neal Mathers, from Mary and Martha: Worshipful Work)

Question to Consider
What is it about what both Martha and Mary do that is worshipful?

Prayer
Lord God, help me find the way to a worshipful life. Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)


Day 5 – Worship or Waste?

Silence, Stillness and Centering before God (2 minutes)

Scripture Reading – John 12:1-8

Was the disciples’ reaction in this passage justified? Or were they being complacent in their relationship with Jesus? Their proffered reason for berating the woman’s waste of a valuable perfume may have been valid – it could be argued that it shows they had been absorbing Jesus’ message of sacrificial love and generosity for the poor and marginalised. But they forgot to put Jesus at the centre of their love and concern. They saw the perfume poured out, not the one it was poured out for.

We have the choice over how we will both act and react. We can choose to be like the disciples in this scene: we can stand aloof and distant, arrogantly passing judgement on others and their worship because we think we know better how the gifts and resources of others should be used in the service of God’s plan for his world. But that puts our views and ideas at the centre of our worship.

Or we can be like the woman, who wholeheartedly offered all she had, in that place and at that time, in worship. She gave all she had, no matter how precious it may have been to her, not concerned with what the reaction of other people might be. She only had eyes for Jesus – he was at the centre of her words and actions. She only wanted to offer him the loving act of worship that she knew he was more than worthy to receive from her. Her deeds were deeds of loving worship, lovingly and unguardedly delivered at that most appropriate time and place.

Questions to Consider
What do you think of the woman’s actions? How have you acted similarly?

Prayer
Lord God, may I always keep my eyes fixed on you. Keep my judgements and prejudices out of my worship, and my love, mercy and charity in. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)