Christianity 201

June 3, 2011

Everyday Worship

Canadian pastor and Tyndale Seminary instructor Jeff Loach has been on my Thinking Out Loud blogroll for a long time, but apparently I’ve never excerpted any of his material here.  This post may seem so very basic, but it is equally so easily forgotten.  It first appeared on his blog under the title Worship as a Lifestyle Choice.

Did you know that you should worship God every day?

One of the things I learned this week as I prepared to preach on the second commandment is that it has a lot to say to us about worship.  And heaven knows that one of the many things that Christians like to differ on, and sometimes argue about, is worship:  hymns or praise songs?  Organ or guitar?  High liturgy or low liturgy?  (There’s no such thing as ‘no liturgy’.)  All of these questions, and others, cause believers both joy and angst, depending on the situation.

I’m learning, though, that if we worship God every day, many of these questions fade into the background.  True, we still have our preferences, and our cultural norms, but when we make a daily habit of worshipping God, they matter less when we gather as a community on Sunday.

Worship can, and should, be a lifestyle choice.

But does that mean we give up whatever else we’re doing and head on down to the church to sit in a pew (or on a chair)?  Not necessarily.  That’s not an option for most of us.

Does it mean taking time each day for Scripture reading, reflection, and prayer?  Yes.  But most of us can’t do that all day, either.  (We praise God for those saints who are in a position to spend much of their time in devotion and intercession, but they are rarer than not.)

It does mean, however, looking at our daily activities in a new light.  For example, if you have a job (paid or volunteer), do you see your work as worship?  You can, and you should!  The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Colossae, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Colossians 3.23, NLT).

You can make your everyday tasks acts of worship.  You can do a good job because you want to praise God with your work.  You can be courteous to people in the grocery store because you want to praise God with your shopping.  You can be considerate of other drivers, because you want to praise God with your driving (whether or not you have a fish on your bumper!).  These are all ways of worshipping as a lifestyle choice.

Cloistered monks refer to their daily offices, their prescribed times of worship, as “the work of God”.  We who are not set aside for monastic vows, however, can make every task we undertake into “the work of God”.  Just do whatever you do as an act of praise.  Worship God with every aspect of your life.  And watch what happens to your perspective on Sunday.  The invitation to worship that you receive will become more of a familiar call, more of a ‘comfy shoes’ feeling, because you’re being invited to do something together that you do at other times apart from the community of faith.

Let every breath be praise!  After all, it was God who gave us breath in the first place.

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