The second theme we are exploring for #MoreThanSunday is Worship.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:4,5
Podcast episode two: Worship
Everyone worships, all the time. Sometimes it’s not difficult to tell what, or who, someone worships. I once traveled with two different people in turn. The first spoke of their work in investment banking - describing some canny share purchases, and speaking with pride of a son-in-law thriving in business. The second had taken early retirement and was studying papyrology (Google it!). He enthused about books he’d read, and delighted that his nephew was doing well at university.
What did these two people worship? It seemed that one worshiped wealth and the other learning. For ‘worship’ is the act of declaring the worth of something. We all worship, because each of us has things we value, or futures to which we aspire. We worship by the way we spend our time, or the things we say.
As Christians, we are called to make a radical choice: to worship God above all else. Of course, we believe that everything has its origin in God, but we so easily forget this, with so many distractions. The good things we enjoy are God’s gift, but we take our blessings for granted, without acknowledging whose gift they are. To worship God is to put everything else in its proper place, and so to use God’s gifts as he intends. That's why the worship of God should lie at the centre of our lives.
Setting aside regular times solely for worship is helpful for two reasons:
First, we need to keep reminding ourselves that we’re not the centre of our universe. We easily fall into patterns of self-interest, but worship helps break these open. It refocuses us upon God. You could say that worship is most valuable when we feel we have least time for it, because it recalls us to seeing the world in true perspective.
Secondly, in the words of our Communion service, worship is ‘our duty and our joy’. It not only expresses all that we owe to God, but it becomes a channel of God’s life to us. It helps free us from worshiping things that are less than God, and it enlivens a vision of God’s loving kindness towards all of His creation.
Inevitably there will be periods when worship feels less than this, but worship is part of a lifelong project which will lead us home to God.
We are called to devote our resources to the worship of God; we respond to God’s love by putting him at the centre in every respect. Truly, such worship becomes for us the fullness of life.
The Revd Canon Dr Ian Jorysz, Bishop's Chaplain
- Try attending a worship service from a tradition that is different to your own
- Try out a new way of worshipping that you haven't experienced before. Perhaps listening to some different music, trying a different liturgy or praying in a different way
- If our whole lives can be worship, think about a part of your daily routine. What would it mean to worship God in your everyday life - on a commute, at work, at home or in your street?
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