Friday, June 5, 2009

The Biblical Basis For Our Order Of Worship

Christian forms of worship find common roots in the Old Testament passage of Isaiah 6. In this passage we read:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.

This is the gathering into the Sanctuary. We do this every Sunday as we walk into the Sanctuary. God, Himself, is already present, waiting for us. Isaiah then continues:
And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."

Seeing who God is, we are compelled to praise Him. Likewise, our worship also begins with the congregation giving praise to God with opening hymns of praise. We then read in Isaiah:
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

Having approached God and given Him praise for who He is, the worshipper is then mindful of his own sinfulness and confesses his sin to God. Effective worship cannot proceed without some element of confession.

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

Having confessed sin, there is an assurance of pardon.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"

The Word of God is spoken and heard. On Sunday morning, the Word is proclaimed through reading of Scripture, songs and anthems, a Word for Children, and the preaching of a sermon.

And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"

There is a response to the Word of God. In our worship, we respond to the call to discipleship with an offering and with a departure from the Sanctuary with a willingness to do God’s will.

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