A short reading and prayers for today
Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth! Sing about the glory of his name! Tell the world how glorious he is.
Psalm 66:1-2 NLT
When we think about worship we will naturally focus on the church community with which we meet regularly. That’s not only entirely understandable but deeply precious. We thank God for our brothers and sisters and the relationship that we share with them. But we need to be careful because worship belongs to the whole world and not just to the group with whom we worship. The psalmist’s vision was for everyone to worship God, so when we worship we should keep everyone else in mind. Because everyone has been made by God, everyone needs a relationship with him and their life will only be complete when they live in partnership with him. At the heart of our worship there needs to be a longing that everyone around us will join in with us.
We see a similar attitude in the New Testament. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul spoke about the way in which Jesus took upon himself the nature of servant. He humbled himself and become obedient to death, even death on a cross. As a result of this, God gave to him a name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. When we worship we should always have this much larger congregation in mind. The psalmist moves from encouraging the whole world to join in with the worship, to declaring how great God is. That is to say, we should see our worship as the inevitable launchpad to our evangelism. Proclaiming the greatness and love of God should inevitably propel us into a life of sharing the Good News with others.
If we’re honest, there can be times when worship becomes stale. It can be dull, predictable and uninspiring. But when we recognise that God’s love embraces the whole world and that everyone needs to join in, we should start seeing worship as the most exciting thing that we ever do.
What do you find most inspiring about worship?
Lord God our Father, we thank you for the privilege of worshipping you and of knowing of your perfect love for everyone. Amen