Sunday, January 10, 2010

Worship: Then sings my soul #Part 1

Worship. What is worship? Since that seems to be the basis of our creation and the goal of our lives it would seem that we would be easily able to define this, but is it is not. Worship as defined by Millard J. Erickson is

"offering of homage, honor, and praise to God."

Warren Wiersbe writes
in his book Real Worship, "Worship is the believer’s response of all that they are - mind, emotions, will, body - to what God is and says and does."

In For the Glory of God: A Biblical Theology of Worship, Dr. Dan Block defines true worship as "reverential human acts of submission and homage before the divine Sovereign, in response to his gracious revelation of himself, and in accordance with his will." That is a powerful definition.

Adam Smith of
Lost and Found turned me on to the ord english word for worship, “weorthscipe.” It is defined as "what we assign worth to" or "to assign worth to."Both of these definition, one a simplified version ofthe othrs.

Yet, we still don't understand worship and its aim even though this is something we should have learned early on in life or our walk with Christ. In most Baptist (including C.H. Spurgeons) or Puritan Catechisms will have such questions as these to instruct children and new believers:

  1. Q. What is the chief end of man?

    A. Man's chief end is to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31), and to enjoy him for ever (Ps. 73:25-26).

  2. Q. What rule has God given to direct us how we may glorify him?

    A. The Word of God which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (Eph. 2:20; 2 Tim. 3:16) is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify God and enjoy him (1 Jn. 1:3)

Yet, many of the hymnals used by Churches (especially in the Rural South) seem to have a different focus in worship. While it is true that their are songs that have a proper Biblical, Christocentric tone with their trajectory aimed at exalting our Sovereign King Lord, many seem to be more horizontal in aim. Some lack any aim, direction, reference to or shadow of Jehovah, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. Their references to any of the persons of the Trinity seem to be more in a role os submissive to man as the role of God the Blesser is not the Biblical Supreme Lord of Hosts who our of His great benevolence and amazing love, but more like a loving dog licking the palms of his human master. God is seen as one who make us happy and His role is to bless us as a way of serving up. This is a departure from both orthodox theology and historic worship. This leaves believers soaking up improper views of Yahweh and Worship. The generalization is that "worship" is about me and and should make me feel good. This has lead to a great many public worship services become trite with personal favorite hymns lacking with authentic worship but loved for their melody or toe tapping beat. Style is not the issue but the drivel that is peddled that we sing from the hymnal or screen.

As you can tell I feel very strongly about this subject. I have had many a worship opportunities stunted by low theology. Occasions in which I should have been singing unto our Lord I was asked to sing about what the Lord does for me like He was my waitress bringing more napkins. This has led to many frustrated moments, log discussion, and silence on my part during the song service. I have not always been able to sum up my views, but the Lord has graciously shown me in recent day more about this. In a recent worship service a lady from our congregation sang How Great Thou At, and suddenly it was all summed up.

I would describe my personal and pastoral Theology of Worship with one line from Carl Boberg's poem turned hymn, How Great Thou At." Boberg penned the timeless line, "Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee." This line summed up how I see and understand Biblical worship. We sing up from deep down with in ourselves, to God with adoration, testifying of His glorious worth.

I have more to say but for now I will leave you with the lyrics of this famous hymn.

  • Verse 1:
O Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands have made.
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee;
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee:
How great Thou art, how great Thou art!
  • Verse 2:
When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:
(Repeat Refrain.)
  • Verse 3:
And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin:
(Repeat Refrain.)
  • Verse 4:
When Christ shall come with shouts of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art!
(Repeat Refrain.)

1 comment:

Byroniac said...

Good post. I think that some worship is faulty because believers do not truly understand who God is and what His Godhood really means. The only standard and reference for goodness and Holiness exist only in God Himself. I simply cannot ascribe to the idea that goodness is an external set of guidelines and ideals that the Godhead conforms itself to in reference, then enforces and judges our obedience according to that external guideline. Instead of being the only perfect example of obedience to an external standard of goodness, I believe God is the only source and authority for goodness itself.