Christ at the Core | Call to Worship

February 26, 2016 by Todd Paben 0 comments

Posted in: Worship

Worship begins with God. 

Serving within a theologically conservative church this statement would go unchallenged by many (and to God be the glory for that!). Many of us would be able to cite passages similar Romans 12:1 "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." Everything we do is ultimately to be an act of worship. We were created in the image of God therefore our worship is to be a reflection of who God is. 

Mike Cosper in his book Rhythms of Grace sums this point up beautifully when he explains,

"It [worship] begins there [with God] because apart from his own creative action, there would be nothing else... Worship begins with God because God beings everything, and everything that exists is a testimony to his handiwork. Worship begins with God because God made us in his image, a mysterious stamp that hardwires us to reflect and declare his glory in a way that's unique among creation. In a sense, all his creative work is one big call to worship." [1]

The same is true for when we come to gather as a community on Sunday mornings. We get all dressed up (or simply roll out of bed), get the kids looking presentable, and speed off to church in a whirlwind of emotion. Sometimes we come to our Sunday gatherings kicking and screaming because it has been such a long week and other time we cannot wait to sing praises and hear from his holy, inspired, and inerrant word. However, little do we often recognize that are not the ones mustering up the energy and desire to "come and worship". Behind the scenes is one great big call to worship authored by the Author of Creation. He is the one that calls us out of our bed and gives us the desire to sing praises to Him. 

Cosper goes on to say the following, 

"The first thing we need to acknowledge when we gather with God's church is that the whole thing - from the entire creation to the very thought of gathering to worship the Creator - was God's idea. We don't gather because we're clever. We don't meet because we've figured something out that the rest of the world has missed out on. We come because God is the great initiator. He made the world, he made us, and he is remaking us in Jesus. Our gathers, our songs, our sermons, our fellowship around the table - all of it is a response to his initiation and invitation.

In one sense, worship can be thought of as a three-way conversation: God to us, us to God, us to one another. It can also be thought of as a vertical and horizontal conversation: vertical to God, horizontal to one another. But it's questionably a conversation that God initiates. When we gather and begin the conversation, we need to make it clear that God was the one who spoke first. The first movement acknowledges that God is holy and that he, our Creator, initiated all of the conversation that ensues." [2]

How is Christ at the core of a call to worship then? Well by simply having a call to worship that is based on the very word of God helps us keep Christ at the core. He gets the first words in everything, including our gatherings. So in practice for us at Missio Dei Church this will often be a call and response from one of the Psalms. I think there is something fitting about reading an invitation from the Lord to come and worship him that we participate in together. As God calls us into his presence, we should call one another into his presence as well! The challenge that will always lie within us (as with everything we do), both the leader and the people, is to not treat this call to worship as some ancient practice we have to mutter our way through or a formula we have to plug in. Rather, we need to consciously treat this call to worship with the joy, honor, and respect that it deserves because the One who is calling us is worthy of all our praise. Amen?!

Catch up on this blog series by reading Christ at the Core | Liturgy. 

[1] [2] Cosper, Mike (2013-03-31). Rhythms of Grace: How the Church's Worship Tells the Story of the Gospel (Kindle Locations 1883-1887). Crossway. Kindle Edition.


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