Serving God

To worship God means to serve him. Basically there are two ways to do it. One way is to do things for him that he needs to have done—run errands for him , carry messages for him, fight on his side, feed his lambs, and so on. The other way is to do things for him that you need to do—sing songs for him, create beautiful things for him, give things up for him, tell him what’s on your mind and in your heart, in general rejoice in him and make a fool of yourself for him the way lovers have always made fools of themselves for the one they love.

A Quaker Meeting, a Pontifical High Mass, the Family Service at First Presbyterian, a Holy Roller Happening—unless there is an element of joy and foolishness in the proceedings, the time would be better spent doing something useful.

—Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life, 182

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The Chief End

So it may be said that the chief purpose of life, for any one of us, is to increase according to our capacity our knowledge of God by all the means we have, and to be moved by it to praise and thanks. And to do as we say in the GLORIA IN EXCELSIS: Laudamus te, benedicimus te, adoramus te, glorificamus te, gratias agimus tibi propter magnum gloriam tuam. We praise you, we call you holy, we worship you, we proclaim your glory, we thank you for the greatness of your splendour.

—J.R.R. Tolkien, quoted in Joseph Pearce, Tolkien: Man and Myth, 211-12

God as the Center

In worship God gathers his people to himself as center: “The Lord reigns” (Ps. 93:1). Garyaal is a meeting at the center so that our lives are centered in God and not lived eccentrically. We worship so that we live in response to and from this center, the living God. Failure to worship consigns us to a life of spasms and jerks, at the mercy of every advertisement, every seduction, every siren. Without worship we live manipulated and manipulating lives. We move in either frightened panic or deluded lethargy as we are, in turn, alarmed by specters and soothed by placebos. If there is no center, there is no circumference. People who do not worship are swept into a vast restlessness, epidemic in the world, with no steady direction and no sustaining purpose.

—Eugene Peterson, Living the Message, 74

Essential Song

Music and song have not only accompanied all scriptural revivals, but are essential in deepening one’s spiritual life. Singing does at least as much as preaching to impress the Word of God on people’s minds. Ever since God called me, the importance of praise expressed in song has grown up in my heart.

—D. L. Moody, cited by David. Jeremiah