Come let us worship together!

Scripture: Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7 (The Message)

Come, let's shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us!
   Let's march into his presence singing praises,
      lifting the rafters with our hymns!
So come, let us worship: bow before him,
      on your knees before God, who made us!
   Oh yes, he's our God,
      and we're the people he pastures, the flock he feeds.

Observation:

I passed an ageing political poster “November 2nd is coming!” the other morning. Yep it has come and gone and the sun still rises in the east. Interesting how we make so much out of a particular day and in the end all that is left is the memory.

Sunday can be like that. It comes at the same time each week and despite knowing all that it sometimes sneaks up on you. The reason I know this is because on Tuesday evenings Rick MacPherson and I meet to discuss the previous Sunday’s worship time and plan for the coming week.

We spend two hours talking about songs, the service, reactions and comments. We enjoy talking about the impact songs have had on our lives and how our circumstance and experiences breathe meaning into how we express our worship. Our goal through all this to is have a seamless presentation, at least from the congregation’s perspective, so that we are not a distraction. To do that requires three hours of practice with the whole Worship Team including our sound and word technicians. But that’s just what we do as a group; consider how much more time it takes to prepare our own hearts, hands and minds.

Application:

If you were creating sections of the Psalms then Psalm 95 is the start of a new section centered on worship. If you look at some of the ancient liturgies you’ll find that this one plays a vital role in reorienting the reader. It turns our attention and affection toward God. And in the end, when we examine our role in worship is addressed, the focus becomes one of obedience and reverence.

When we look at worship there are so many aspects to explore but in these four verses I want to consider five thoughts. First, worship is a collective activity. We can claim all we want about worshipping alone in an awe inspiring location but you will be hard pressed to get passed the “let us” phrases in this Psalm. We are to receive our call to worship, together.

Second, worship is a vocal activity; most of the time we view it as a personal, private time and there are times for that but not in this case. The call here is to ‘cease striving’ and get into the act of vocalizing our praise publically to God.
The third aspect of this Psalm is that the vocal praise is vibrant and vigorous; it is a joyful, grateful noise. The reality of the translated words here suggests that the sanctuary be more like a football stadium rather than library. The Hebrew words means “to raise a shout” which reminds me of what happened at Jericho; either the preparation for war or the shout of triumph – take your pick. Now I know we have a tendency to react when people get a little too ‘enthusiastic’ much like Michal did at David for all his “jumping before the ark of God” but perhaps we should be a tad bit more animated.

Fourth, we notice that the praise is God-centered. Our thoughts, motivation and activity is with God. We are not here to experience a “rocky mountain high” or anything of the sort but rather a fervent reaction to who God is and what He has done for us.

The final thought is one of reverence. When was the last time you gave any thought to your posture? If you are like me only when it really becomes necessary; but in our worship posture is a very visible means to show our reverence. We started off standing and shouting our praise and as we come to know God more intimately we end up speechless and prostate.

Worship is not an incidental part of our lives; it is intentional and persistent. Every day is today and we can’t rest on the past. We have to continue in that which God has begun. If I had one thing to take away from this Psalm it would be that familiarity with God does not breed contempt rather it seems to be that the more intimate I become the greater the love and awe I show.

Come let us worship together!

Prayer:

Holy God, make it our marching song: Heirs of God come to claim your victory. Inheritors of glory, gather to worship our Creator. Amen.