On Sunday July 12th Rev. Gillian Robertson led worship at Wesley Chapel. For the call to worship she used the wonderful psalm of praise, psalm 150. We sang the joyful hymn, ‘Come let us join our cheerful songs’ before Gillian led the prayers of praise and adoration and the Lord’s Prayer. Gillian introduced a new hymn to us which was ‘Speak O Lord as we come to you.’, so that we might see God’s love and authority and his truth might be seen. Then members of our congregation read these passages from the Bible; 2 Samuel 6v12-23 – exuberance; 1 Chronicles 29v9-14 – generosity and Mark 1v40-45 – the good news. I read the final reading in that section form Revelation 5v6-14.
As Gillian began her sermon she asked us to think about why we had come to church that morning. She wondered if we just came out of habit or to meet friends or because someone wanted us to come or perhaps we invited someone to come with us. Do we always come joyfully or do we not always want to come. Some Methodists look at the plan before deciding whether to go to the chapel or not. If we do come every week what are our expectations? Is it a good service if we have a good sing? Who or what is worship for? The excerpt from Revelations gives a glimpse into heaven’s true worship. God in Jesus is the centre of attention. True worship puts Jesus in the proper place. We worship God in Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Jesus has all authority in heaven and earth and reveals the Father to us. The angels were singing of the worthiness of Jesus. We too join with the songs of angels. Day and night angels worship God and we are part of that supernatural event which is taking place in heaven. We worship God as an act of will, because of who he is and what he has done for us. The purpose of our lives is to give God glory.
The gospel story showed the miraculous healing of the leper. Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone. He healed people when he saw their need but he did not seek to have such a ministry; that was not his purpose to be seen only as a healer. Now the man healed of leprosy could worship again as he was no longer excluded from worship. He was so overjoyed and could not keep the good news to himself. Jesus then had no choice but to stay out of town after the healed leper told everyone who had healed him. If we had such good news it would be difficult to keep the good news to ourselves. Isn’t being loved by God good news worth sharing? When we come to worship, no matter how bad our circumstances are, we all have something to be grateful for. We want to be free and forgiven through Jesus and our natural response is overwhelming gratitude. True worship comes from our deep gratitude. The reading from Chronicles showed the fundraising needed for the building of God’s Temple and the phenomenal generosity of the people to the project; although all that was given had originally come from God.
In 2 Samuel David’s exuberant style of worship disgusted his wife Michal, Saul’s daughter. Gillian reminded us we cannot care about our own dignity in God’s presence. Only God’s dignity matters. People may look up to us. We have to put aside our personal likes and dislikes. Our right desire is to give God the best and not on our own comfortable terms. Enjoying the music in a service may be secondary and even the inadequacies of preachers and worship leaders may not be important if we give ourselves to God and the Spirit in worship. Does our encounter with God make a difference to our lives the next day? Gillian challenged us by saying that if we don’t want to be disturbed or challenged or entertained or comforted then we have perhaps not worshipped. We all worship differently. However if we are not emotionally involved then we are not worshipping. David’s extravagant worship matches God’s love which is extravagant.
1. True worship is putting God first with Jesus at the centre, expressing God’s worth and majesty.
2. We have so much to be grateful for, as we are loved and forgiven.
3. Worship is to be extravagant so we can grow in faith in our daily lives.
May our all our worship be acceptable to God our strength and our redeemer.
We sang, ‘Ye holy angels bright’ before the prayer of confession. Christine our worship leader led the prayers of intercessions; in the pauses we all joined in singing the Taizé chant; ‘O Lord hear my prayer’. I loved singing the words as we prayed. Worship concluded when we sang ‘Crown Him with many crowns’ and Gillian blessed us all. It was a challenging and worshipful service.