The Worship Continuum

On one end the psalmist says, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’” (Ps. 122:1). On the other end were the people of Malachi’s day who had a different thought about going to God’s house, “What a weariness this is” (Mal. 1:13). On one end is the psalmist, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” (Ps. 84:10). On the other end were the people of Amos’ day who inquired instead “[When will] the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?” (Amos 8:5). The psalmist delighted at the thought of worshiping God; the people of Malachi and Amos’ day loathed it and couldn’t wait till it was over.

With this as our “worship continuum,” where do you graph on the line? I suspect somewhere in between. But are you comfortable with your position?

Most parents have to deal with the tired teenager who wants to sleep in on Sunday after being out late on Saturday. Sometimes there is an estranged relationship at church that you want the week off from having to deal with. Maybe you convince yourself you’re up for missing because you haven’t for a while. Or it’s that favorite NFL or NBA team on television that starts at 10 a.m. Or maybe it’s the thought of a quiet house while everyone else is at church that is just too tempting of a scenario.

Let’s call the examples above “worship skirmishes”—skirmishes with self or with others in your family. Do they reveal something about you or a family member’s passion and joy of worshiping? Is what is revealed move you further away from the psalmist’s end?

The psalmist really liked worshiping God, “One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple” (Ps. 27:4). If we find ourselves asking instead for “two more hours of sleep,” or for a “break from church,” isolated requests may be no big deal. But if they start piling up, we’re sounding far too much like the people of Malachi and Amos’ day—and that’s the end of the “worship continuum” we don’t want to be.

Pastor Rich Hamlin

February 23, 2012

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