Worship & Sabbath

Christians want to serve God. We want to give something back, though our theology states that is impossible. Even our worship is focused on giving ourselves up to God. We sing and pray and hope it will be enough. It never will. We often feel frustrated as a result. Worship on Sunday becomes a self-trial to see how much we can give up, how much closer we can get to God. We wear ourselves out and still feel beaten.

Being a Christian is difficult business. Society is often anti-Christian and to avoid sin and uphold truth is hard work. At the end of a week we're tired, we need to be re-charged. But our attitude toward our role in worship makes us often dread the one place we can get the spiritual sustenance we need—church. By turning worship into one more act of service toward God, we rob it of its healing power. We're humans, we need rest. If we serve God all week and then again on Sunday morning, we get no rest and we get burned out. The purpose of church isn't for us to serve, but to be served. God serves us through our acts of worship and the sacraments, revitalizing us for the task of being His people.

The idea of God serving Christians isn't new, and having a hard time accepting it isn't a new problem. The apostles were appalled when Christ washed their feet. Every Lord's Day God invites us into His presence to be relieved of the world's pressure, to hear His comforting Word, to eat with Him at His holy table. These are not the acts of a tyrant demanding tribute, but of a gentle monarch caring for His children.

The Romans characterized the human race as homo sapiens, thinking man. The Church sees us differently: homo adorans, worshipping man. Man was made to worship. Christians await the climax of history when everything that has been created falls down before God in audible worship. For Rome, man was the end of creation, the sincerest object of worship. For the Church, Christ is the end of creation, the only object of worship. But our worship is not a work of righteousness that somehow brings us favor with God; we are able to worship Him, rather, because He has had favor on us and welcomes us every time we gather before His throne.

Worship is not only a mystical experience of no practical importance. Worship is utterly practical. The old Latin phrase, lex orandi, lex credendi, literally means "the law of prayer (or worship), the law of belief." How we worship affects how we think and act. If we embrace God's offer of rest in Lord's Day worship, our daily experience as Christians will be transformed and our service to God will continually grow stronger as we accept His service to us.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.


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Against Christianity
by Peter Leithart
from Canon Press
in Ecclesiology (Location: WH)
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Day of Delight
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in Doorposts Materials (Location: I-CHA)
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by Doug Wilson
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