Tag Archives: Worship

A Mind to Worship

It was said of Abba Ammoes that when he went to church, he did not allow his disciple to walk beside him but only at a certain distance; and if the latter came to ask him about his thoughts, he would move away from him as soon as he had replied, saying to him, ‘It is for fear that, after edifying words, irrelevant conversation should slip in, that I do not keep you with me.’

—–Sayings of the Desert

Worship-Preparation1-540x330Perhaps one of the greater criticisms of our society is its tendency to use too many words. In our abundance of words we lose the true meaning of many things. Most of us give very little thought to preparing for worship. The monk was preparing to worship and wanted the worship of God to be his sole objective. Many distractions are thrown at us every hour of every day .Maybe it would strengthen us all to see the journey to worship as part of our worship.

I can only imagine how much more God-centered our gatherings would be if we entered in a worshipful frame of mind. I know that such thinking is out of the box, but wouldn’t it be worthwhile to try. The greatest lesson of the monk is that the journey of worship is not a time for irrelevant conversation. Let us resolve not to let our times before and after worship to be squandered by irrelevant conversations. Although a somewhat hard and demanding task, it could revolutionize your view of church and make times of community sharing so much more meaningful.

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Temptation

English: Detail of Religion mural in lunette f...

“The distinctive mark of a monk (Christian) is made clear through temptations.”

——Abba Poeman

The things that persuade us are the things that rule us. Instinctively, we are led away from certain behaviors and towards others. The mark of the Christian is to live in an area that allows us to give honor to God. Honor to God is given in worship, prayer, service, and hospitality. Those four things are not an exhaustive list of all Christian virtues, but at least a place to start. Let’s take them apart in a few statements.

Worship is honor paid to God at its simplest definition. Many times we are tempted not to worship God in an organized or in any other way. “I don’t go to church, and I don’t know one person who does,” says Brian Kenny, 39, who is studying psychotherapy and counseling at Dublin Business School. “Fifteen years ago, I didn’t know one person who didn’t.” In 1980 85% of the people of Ireland attended worship on a weekly basis, now it is less than 50% and dropping rapidly. Untied States statistics are not far behind.

Prayer is communication with God. I would hate to think how little people really talk to God. With growing numbers of people who never attend a church of any kind it would be difficult to expect that prayer would be on the rise.

Service in the way the Abba is using it means some type of assistance or good that is done for someone else. Do we really serve others out of a sense of being part of the family of God? I really doubt it.

Hospitality is freely opening your inner domain to friend and stranger alike. A few days ago I ran out of gas (yes I do stupid things like that) and a total stranger offer me the hospitality of his truck, gas can and gas that was in it. That is hospitality, and he opened what was his inner domain and shared with me without expectation of anything in return. Are you a person who practices hospitality?

I would venture to say that if you are tempted and tried by your reluctance to worship, pray, serve, and practice hospitality you are being marked as a Christian.

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Worship

English: Communion setting at an Evangelical L...

People silently entered the candlelit sanctuary. In the total quiet of the moment, the intense prayers of those gathered were almost palpable. Each brought to worship years of living with accumulated pain and joy. The lonely came, as well as the exhausted because they are never alone. Some came bearing deep hurts, and some came bearing crushing guilt because of hurts they had imposed. Some came because their pain was nearly unbearable, and some came because they were afraid they could no longer feel anything. Some came because they were afraid to die, and some came because they were afraid to live.The ancient music washed over us all calming doubts and troubles in our souls. The liturgy began and those souls were lifted up to the lord. Fear and cares receded, and peace and hope took hold. We gave God our thanks and praise and He gave back to us the mystery of His presence. We revisited the crucifixion together as we celebrated Holy Communion. No matter our pasts, our educations, and our finances – we were all the same before God. We were sinners in need of His mercy – and we received it. We left that sacred time forgiven, reconciled, and whole. We worshipped and left with grace for the journey-full of glory.Advent presents us with unique opportunities for worship. As we come to God honestly confessional, void of pretense, seeking God for who he is, not for what we want from him, we realize that we are living in the very beginning days of eternal life.Reflection – Confess to God everything that stands in the way of your worship.Monica Boudreaux

 

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Worship 1

The Rt Revd N T (Tom) Wright delivering the Ja...

“That is what worship is all about. It is the glad shout of praise that arises to God the creator and God the rescuer from the creation that recognizes its maker, the creation that acknowledges the triumph of Jesus the Lamb. That is the worship that is going on in heaven, in God’s dimension, all the time. The question we ought to be asking is how best we might join in.”

———N.T. Wright from Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

 

Bishop Wright is my favorite New Testament scholar. He constantly challenges us to allow God to manifest Himself in our worship.

 

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Factors of Destruction

The Jesuit theologian and mystic Anthony de Mello tells us: “These things will destroy the human race: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without fearlessness, and worship without awareness.” Let’s unpack those words for a minute.

Politics without principleIn a recent poll it was found that only ad men and salespeople were less respected than politicians. Sadly our world is losing confidence in our elected leaders. There have been far too many stories of graft and corruption. The art of political leadership has been replaced by a hoard of unprincipled power brokers. What ever happened to principles?

Progress without compassion- The official death toll of the Rana Plaza collapse in Sri Lanka is 1,129, with 301 bodies still unidentified. This is without a doubt, the worst example of progress without compassion I have ever seen. Sri Lanka is a very poor country that cries out for economic and social progress, and in a way the high-dollar clothing companies who pay their workers very low wages have brought some progress to the country. This progress is without any form of compassion or care for the working conditions of the employees. Thus, the horrific results.

Wealth without work In my city of New Orleans there is an alarmingly high murder rate, and by all indications it is largely connected to the drug trade. Drug dealers are able to make large sums of money with very little work. Consequently, the destructive results.

Learning without silence The wisest and most learned people on earth know that all knowledge must be processed and analyzed. In our time of 24/7 “breaking news” much hurtful and unnecessary information is distributed without any thought or care. What has become of careful weighing of knowledge?

Religion without fearlessness The Bible tells us, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us fearful, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7) Today’s religious people spend far too much of their time fearing everything from change to stability, and forget that we have a powerful spirit that is on our side. Learn to be bold in your faith.

Worship without awareness- Worship is the presence of God. Too many people leave God out. Worship is not about being motivated but about finding the presence of the creator. When He is found we become more alive, more aware, and through that sense of His presence we truly are transformed. Challenge yourself to be keenly aware of God when you worship.

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