In Touch – March 30, 2012
Posted on March 30, 2012 by under Touché,

The Discipline of Worship

The discipline of worship??? You have to be kidding me.  I can understand fasting, prayer, study, and meditation as disciplines, but worship is something you feel, a jolt of inspiration for living.  It sounds strange to call it a discipline, but biblically and theologically it is. As we come to the culmination of our Celebration of Discipline through Lent, we close with two corporate disciplines: worship, on Palm Sunday  and celebration on Easter;  two things that should be as natural to us as breathing, but yes,  they are disciplines that need to be learned and lived in our lives.

Foster states: “One reason worship should be considered a spiritual discipline is because it is an ordered way of acting and living that sets us before God so He can transform us.  Although we are only responding to the liberating touch of the Holy Spirit, there are divinely appointed avenues in this realm.” In other words we work at worship, paying attention to our preparation and our participation.  Sometimes I hear the complaint: “I didn’t get anything out of worship today.”  The response to that question from the discipline of worship is: “Did you put everything you have into worship today?”  From preparation to benediction, worship invites us to a divine dance with the Almighty.  Worship is a 168 activity, living every hour of our lives in relationship, reflection, and response to what God is doing.

Having said that, it is important to note that the discipline is corporate – a discipline we do together.  While I can worship God alone on the golf course or in the woods (for me the two go together), I know that to worship as the body of Christ is to pay attention to the blessings of being together in praise.  Foster quotes Luther: “at home, in my own house, there is no warmth or vigor in me, but in the church when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and it breaks its way through.”

We have set a goal of breaking the 500 barrier in worship in 2012.  When I wrote about this before,I said it is not about the numbers, it is about the discipline of making worship the priority of our lives.  Members of HRC will be present to praise God together and it will be reflected in our numbers.  So far in 2012 we have gone over 500 on three Sundays of the first quarter.  I know that on Easter we will pass that mark, but I wonder if the Sunday after Easter will see 500 people in corporate worship.  I hope so.  That will reflect learning from Lent on the discipline of worship as it shapes our life as a community.

Yours in Faith,