Friday, November 1, 2013

1. Worship

Our daily life is an act of worship. But this is a difficult task because of the diversity of the world and the size of God. Paganism emphasises the diversity of the world, imbuing every piece of landscape, activity and object with spiritual importance. However monotheists find the sheer size of God more compelling, and either worship him in one all consuming monochrome posture or worship him in only the parts of life where it "counts".  Reformed Christianity at its best recognises the diversity of the world and the size of God. He is the divine author who delights in the diversity of the details. Worship is one of the main organising paradigms of the bible and it defines our relationship to culture. The God we worship enters into the details of this world, and we speak the truth of this good news into every structure of culture.

Worship is one of the central biblical paradigms. We were created in Adam to be stewards, 'gardeners and librarians', working and naming (Gen 1:28, 2:15 & 20). Adam and Eve walked in the presence of God, they worshiped him in close proximity (Gen 3:8). After the Fall they were cut off from this worship (Gen 3:23-24). Part of the good news of the Gospel is the restoration of this worship. Despite the sinful gulf, God interacts with Abraham (Gen 12:1-3) and Jacob (Gen 32:30) and then speaks through fire to Moses (Exodus 3). Moses has to remove his sandals, because the ground around the burning bush was sacred, he was in close proximity to the presence of God. The Jewish people were to be a nation of priests (Exodus 19:6), dedicated to worshiping God, a witness to the surrounding people (Ezk 39:27). The prophecy of Zechariah points to the denouement of the history of redemption, when the ordinary pots become holy, concluding the old Covenant division of sacred and profane (Zech 14:20-21). Jesus is the temple, we no longer have to travel to mount Zion to worship him because we have him here in the flesh (John 4:21-26). When he dies, the temple curtain is torn, from top to bottom (Mark 15:38), to paraphrase Calvin Seerveld, “we all should now remove our sandals!” We’re all now living sacrifices (Rom 12:1) with freedom, from the Old Covenant division, by the power of the Holy Spirit.


1 comment:

Steve Isham said...

I very much like the gardeners and librarians image of stewardship. The tangible and ephimeral. I feel it my duty at Hope to every so often try to point to this sphere of worship as the primary context, and away from time and place emphisis.