Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | April 12, 2015

April 12, 2015 “Worship 101”

“Then it happened as the ark of the Lord came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord.”                (2 Samuel 6:16)

“With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.” (Acts 3:8)

Good Morning and Blessed Lord’s Day To All!

I do hope that those of you who follow these daily posts are either preparing for worship, or have already joined with others today in praising God in the gathering of the fellowship of the saints that we commonly call “going to church.”  Having served sixteen churches during the course of my forty years of ministry (where does the time go?), and having attended many others during that span, I have observed that people worship God in various ways. Some gatherings are solemn and staid…very contemplative and reverent. Others are more familial in nature, full of warm fellowship and familiarity. Still others are more emotionally expressive, with shouts of praise and raised hands. I have concluded that all expressions that are genuine and emanate from a heart full of praise are pleasing to God. In scripture, we find examples of all these expressions. The two verses referenced above indicate that leaping and dancing before the Lord are as natural an expression of worship as is a prayer lifted up in quiet meditation or as a familial gathering of the saints, which was quite common even from the very beginnings of the church. Having enjoyed the benefit of worshiping in many Christian churches during the course of my life has helped broaden my particular appreciation for these different expressions of worship, and I do not feel at all uncomfortable when I encounter them. I love being in a church where people feel free to express their praise of God in various ways without fear of criticism…where in awesome wonder one could find, at the same time, people bowing in reverence while others raise hands and lift up shouts of praise to God.  Christian author Eugene Peterson wrote,

“If we get our information from the biblical material there is no doubt that the Christian life is a dancing, leaping, daring life.”

I do not disagree. The passages referenced indicate this. But I also find in scripture passages like this: “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Ps. 46: 10)… And this: “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.” (Ps. 96:9) And this: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,” (Acts 2:46)

The most important factor, is not so much how we choose to worship, but that we choose to worship. Were this a course on proper worship, the syllabus for “Worship 101″ would look something like this: Sing, dance, leap, clap, shout, pray, reflect, meditate, contemplate, serve, celebrate…worship! Let’s pray!

Worthy is Your name, O God, of all reverence and praise. You may set my feet dancing. You may place a song in my heart and on my lips. You may whisper to me in the beauty of holiness. Accept my worship of You, O my Heavenly Father, that I gladly bring before You in this new day. Amen!

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