This week I’m looking at the marks of discipleship. We are a member of the Church by baptism which is the initiation to our walk with Christ. Worship is essential to sustain us in our walk. It is our time of weekly renewal. In Genesis 2:3 we are reminded that “God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it.” Christians believe that when Jesus came to us, he came as a fully human man, with fully human needs. One of those needs was worship. We are designed to worship – every culture on the face of the earth seeks to express itself in some way through worship. In Luke 4:16 we are told that Jesus came to Nazareth, “where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom.” It was his custom, habit, regular behavior, and part of his routine. If he calls you into discipleship we want to learn from him to do the same.
Daily worship was a part of that as well. Worship is an attitude that we maintain toward God which includes a weekly gathering with other disciples to maintain our prayer life, fellowship, the breaking of the bread, and teaching of the Apostles. (Acts 2:42) Without worship we confuse temporary satisfaction, such as a beautiful sunset, a walk in the woods, or a climb in the mountains, with the eternal joy of God’s gift of purpose, meaning, fellowship, and service in our life – the Church.
It is in worship that we expect to meet God. We expect to be touched, healed in some way, nourished, and changed by the love that God has for us. Imagine the power of expectation when we go to worship to meet the Eternal. Elton Trueblood once said, “Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.” Worship, for the disciple of Jesus is not optional. It is essential. One of the benefits of weekly worship with the community of believers is reconstituting our heading in life. Michael Foss called it, “our weekly compass.” It is here we are reminded of the power of God to reshape our soul.
Perhaps you’ve been in the situation that you have been on vacation or on some trek through an unknown country and did not have a chance to meet with the gathered community. In that case, gather your community of travelers and lead worship. Make it happen with the Word, with prayer, and with offering yourself to God. It doesn’t replace the community but it is a recognition of how important worship is.
I remember a trip when I, the pastor who was on holiday and did not want to seek out a church for Sunday worship because it was rest that I thought was needed, was asked by my son, “Can I lead a bible study for us tonight?” Gladly we all agreed and he kept us grounded in worship in spite of his father’s laziness. When I needed a worship leader he became one for me.
Americans, sadly have substituted so many things for worship and are setting a very bad example for the next generation. Worship has become optional. There is nothing in the Bible that suggests that it is an option for the disciple of Jesus – nothing. Football, volleyball, soccer, hockey, baseball, basketball, and probably badminton all have games and practice on Sunday. There is no sacred time for Americans. I guess it wouldn’t be politically correct. We worship sports in this nation and few of our children will get a full ride to college or become professional athletes. Is there a moment when parents need to say to their children, “we will not sacrifice our eternal relationship with God for a temporary sport?” At the very least lead worship at home until the sport is over – but for just a season.
Sports are good. I was an active athlete, but I think society weakens as we worship the god of sport before the God of the universe. The same is true for other things that interrupt the design God established for us as humans. Which brings me back to Genesis: “God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it.” There is a cadance to the universe; a time to stop working and start worshipping. Worship is the second mark of the disciple. It doesn’t come without cost. Jesus said, that we are to take up our cross daily and follow. If that is the case there will be some things that are sacrificed – some gods we will not bow down before.