I want to talk about worship today. Worship is the most important thing for Christians. Since it is important, we do it every week. Many of you are very faithful to attending the worship service every week because it is very important to you.
I believe that making worship as the priority of your life is the wisdom. When we make the worship at the centre of our lives, everything else will fall into its place. We will find a balance in life. We will find order in life.
We are creatures we confess. We did not create ourselves. God created us. Then it is a right thing to do for creatures to worship the creator. That is the natural order. So, making worship at the centre of our lives is to find the order in our lives. When your life is chaotic, when you are not sure where your life is going, don’t panic. Come back to the heart of worship and make worship as priority of your life again. You will find the order in your life.
Worship is not what you do only on Sunday at the church. Worship is not about what you do. Worship is the mode of our existence. Worship is our life. What does it mean to have religion? It means you give your whole life. That is what religion is. When people say, “Oh I do that religiously” – what does this mean? It means you give your whole thing. That’s what religion is. Worship is not limited by time and space. That was what Jesus taught the Samaritan woman.
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4: 23, 24)
God is spirit and the spirit is not limited by space and time. True worship is not about WHERE AND WHEN you worship. True worship starts from here, the heart. The worship begins not at 12; it begins when your heart is ready.
The Right Heart
That does not mean what we do on Sunday is not important. It is important but behind what we do, there has to be a right heart. What is the right heart, I was thinking. It is a heart of HUMBLE GRATITUDE. That is the heart of worship. We are all sinners and we are not even worthy to call God’s name and worship him. And yet Jesus cleansed our sins and purified us. That’s why we can enter the sanctuary with confidence. That was what the Hebrew writer said in today’s passage.
…since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus…let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19, 22)
We have evil thoughts and selfish desire. But God purified us by forgiving us. That is why we have humble gratitude, and with the humble gratitude, we worship God. That is what true worship is. God does not accept what we do for him. God accepts our brokenness. That’s what God sees.
In Greek, the word worship is “proskuneo.” Pros = Towards Kuneo = Kiss
You can see an image of a person approaching Jesus, kneeling down and kissing his feet.
This was exactly the image of a woman in Luke.
She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. (Luke 7:38)
That is the image of worship. We see an attitude of humble gratitude. We see her brokenness. In worship there has to be an ABUNDANT SENSE OF GRATITUDE for God’s overflowing grace.
When we look at our lives, we can only confess, “O Lord, it is your grace and nothing else. I am who I am by your grace. My life that I enjoy now is because of your grace.” When we see the grace of God working in our lives, our heart is then ready to worship God. Then everything that we do becomes worshipful. Our praise, our prayers, receiving God’s words, our offering – we do all these things in a worshipful manner.
When we see the fullness of the grace of God working in our lives, our worship will not be limited on Sunday at this place. Wherever we are, that place and time will become a place and a time for worship. How much more meaningful your worship will be when you get together with sisters and brothers at the same time and the same place and worship God. It is good to worship God alone. But when we do it together, it is much more powerful.
Worship is not a spiritual entertainment where you just feel good. Worship is not just to observe. It is seeking God.
When you seek God with humble gratitude, you will find God because God will reveal himself to those who seek.
That was what the prophet Jeremiah said.
Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me, says the Lord… (Jeremiah 29:12-14)
So seeking is important. Seeking with humble gratitude. Worship is not observing; worship is seeking.
Ambrose, the bishop of Milan, when St. Augustine was converted, said this prayer
O God, teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me when I seek you. For I cannot seek you unless you first teach me, nor find you unless you first reveal yourself to me. Let me see you in longing and long for you in seeking. Let me find you in love, and love you in finding.
God reveals himself to those who seek him. If you seek God with humble gratitude, you will meet God. That’s what happens in the worship.
Cleansing happens. Purification happens. We feel the divine presence. We find our true self. That was what happened to Isaiah. He was in the temple and encountered the divine presence. When he encountered the divine presence, this was what he said.
And I said: ‘Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts! (Isaiah 6:5)
After finding himself, healing came.
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: ‘Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.’ (Isaiah 6:6, 7)
Then Isaiah said, ‘Here am I; send me!’ (Isaiah 6:8)
That’s what happens in the true worship. When we seek God with humble gratitude, we find our true self and we experience God’s healing. Then we find our calling for life.
We change through the worship. We become free through the worship. We become strong through the worship. We find life’s calling through the worship.
Worship is not for our benefits. It is only for God. And yet, as the result of worship, we change. We become blessed. There will be healing – Deep healing. People will become transformed. Their eyes will open.