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                Imagine that you travelled to a previously undiscovered island with inhabitants somewhere in the Mediterranean. These people that lived on the island were quite normal except for the fact that they had not been exposed to Western culture (which is not actually bad, in some ways.) As you spent time with these people, they invited you to their church. In their church they sang the most beautifully written songs, sung with the most angelic voices you had ever heard.  After talking to the people you realize that these songs are worship songs written to Personapapiza, a god made of pepperoni. One of the great oddities of their worship of a god made of pepperoni is that the people seem to have no real idea of what that delicious meat actually is. They are simply singing songs, great songs performed perfectly, to something that is not there with them and can do nothing for them.

              If we heard about something like this, we would probably shake our heads, and say “bless their hearts” in the most Southern way that we could. It would be strange for someone to worship something like pepperoni, especially if you had no idea what it was, no matter how well you do it.

            This leads us to the third part of true worship - the most important part of worship is not the songs we sing, or the volume at which we sing them, but the One to whom we are worshipping (don’t misunderstand – what we sing and how we sing is important, just not as important as to whom we are singing.). We can write the greatest songs and have the greatest singers perform them, but if the object of our worship is not worthy, or with us, then it is all done in vain.

            Worship is “God’s people, proclaiming God’s praises, in God’s presence.” When we come to worship God, we must always remember that God is with us as we do it. Worship is not a performance of our most talented, entertaining us (there is a time for being entertained by talent, but let’s not confuse that with true worship.) Worship is the most unworthy being allowed to praise the God of Eternity. Worship is a beggar standing before the King of Kings and letting the King know how great He is.

            A problem of many churches is that we forget that God is in the building with us (or at least He should be, if He is not we are doing something completely wrong), or, even as sadly, we take for granted that God is there. Church members show up and act as if God is impressed that we happened to make it on this particular Sunday. We muddle through Sunday school without taking full advantage of being able to study God’s word with fellow Christians, and then we go to a worship service and sit checking our watches making sure we get out exactly the prescribed hour. Everything about the service is about us, and if it is not to our liking then someone will hear about it. No wonder churches become dry, boring places. It becomes all about us, and compared to God of Heaven, we are dry and boring people.

           Worship is a time for us to be with God and let Him know how great He is and how satisfied we are in Him and His provisions for us. Church worship is where a whole bunch of us gather together to remind each other how great God is and lift Him up. When worship is done correctly, we do not leave feeling entertained, but we leave feeling excited. We have been in the presence of God, and we have lived to tell about it. Worship should be a fire in our bones that consumes us, and forces us to want more. If we walk out of the church building just like we walked in, then we are doing it wrong. No one comes into God’s presence without being changed. Worship is where this begins.

          Let us throw away boring and useless worship that does us no good, and barely allows God to be involved. Let us long for time to be near God with other fellow believers. Let our voices cry out to the goodness of God, and allow Him to touch our lives and change us completely.

 

MJ

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