Worship Series IV
Worship is a matter of the heart. A joyful heart celebrates, a gloomy heart doesn’t. Worship is primarily celebration (see Psalms, Acts 2:46, 47). Franklin M. Segler said that worship is essentially the celebration of the acts of God in history – his creation, his providence, his covenant of redemption, his redemptive revelation through Jesus Christ in the incarnation, the cross, and the resurrection, and the manifestation of his power through the coming of the Holy Spirit.
Robert Webber affirms, “Fundamentally, worship is the celebrative response to what God has done, is doing, and promises to do.” Christian worship grows out of an altogether dynamic event- it refers to a salvation history and is part of it. Everything that is done in worship, ever event in the service stands right in the movement of this salvation-history and participates in it. Worship is the gospel in motion. It recapitulates the past, realizes the present, and anticipates the future. Worship recapitulates the Christ-event; It actualizes the Church; It anticipates the Kingdom.
In worship, our relationship with Christ is established, maintained, and repaired. Christ meets us in our act of celebrating his death and resurrection. In this worship encounter, the Spirit brings us the very real benefits of Christ’s death – salvation, healing, comfort, hope, guidance, and assurance. Through this encounter, order and meaning comes to our lives.
One of the sad things in worship among the Baptists is that, many people’s worship is directed towards the forms of worship, which is why they experience boredom, anger, frustration, dissatisfaction, and the like in worship. No doubt, the forms of worship must be improved; however, forms are simply elements or vehicle to facilitate true worship – that is the celebration of Christ-event.
Worship is always a joyful experience. Lack of understanding of worship as celebration is turning hymns of joy, adoration, and celebration, into funeral beat in many of our churches. Worship planners, therefore, need to provide open spaces for corporate response; dialogue, acclamations, proclamations, antiphonal response, and physical response through which a “yes” may be said to God in worship.
Participatory and Celebrative Worship Outline (Sample)
Call to Worship Congregation
(Psalm 100 – read responsively)
Prayer of Confession Congregation
Congregational hymn “Rejoice in the Lord Always”
“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”
Reading of the Apostles’ Creed Congregation (unison)
Prayer of Intercession Congregation (joining hands)
Offertory Doxology (Congregation)
Responsive Reading Leader & Congregation
(Philippians 4:1-23) Or
Congregation in two groups
Sermon “Rejoice, and again I say, rejoice!”
Consecration hymn “O Happy Day” (in two groups)
Benediction “Shalom” or “God bless you”
(Bless one another in the name
of the Triune God)