Daily Dose, March 12 — Worship Life

  A Psalm of thanksgiving. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come into his presence with singing. Know that the LORD is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name. For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures for ever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100) Our reading for today begins with, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.” Worship was an integral part of the identity of the people of Israel, and we see this all throughout the Old Testament. It’s also part and parcel to the Christian’s life, and to the life of the Christian community. Even though these things are true, I still realize that sometimes we fall into “insider language.” We talk about the importance of worship, but do we take the time to understand what worship really is? What happens during worship? What does worship look and sound like? What’s the purpose of worship? Worship is something that we say happens at a “service” on Sundays, but is this all that worship is? During our worship services on Sunday, I’ve recently found myself explaining and describing some of what is happening during that time. I do it partly for the congregation -- and particularly for the person who may not be familiar with or accustomed to our worship patterns. But I also do it for me. Along with others, I can be easily distracted, and I need to be reminded of the point and purpose of our worship. I’ve been saying something like, “As we gather during this time, we seek to strengthen our relationship with God -- the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. There are some things that we know contribute to that relationship, and so we do some of those things during this time of worship. We gather together as a community. We remember that we are not alone. We raise our voices together. (Notice that Psalm 100 specifically refers to singing.) We talk to God together. (We call it prayer.) We open the Scriptures that have guided people of faith for millennia. We offer ourselves through our words, our actions and our resources. We respond to God’s leading in our lives.” As you move through the Daily Dose readings for this week, I hope they will be more than readings. I hope they will give you reasons to expand your understanding of worship. I hope they will move you to find new ways to worship -- or that they will encourage you to worship…period. I hope that they will cause you to think about your faithfulness and participation in corporate worship, and that you’ll think about what it is that we do when we gather. This week…worship the Lord with gladness! -- Rev. Brad Greene