A Kingdom of Priests

It is widely recognized that Revelation provides the church with a theology of history, however what is of great importance for our study is that this theology of history is built around the theme of worship. The action of the Son in shedding his blood to free us from our sins (1:5b) was so that we, the redeemed, would be made “a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1:6) The goal of redemption is worshipful service.

—Noel Due, Created For Worship: From Genesis to Revelation to You, 221

Both

Worship is “both conservative and critical, centered and open, catholic and evangelical, free and bound, local and more-than-local, God’s action and our action.”

—Norman A. Hjelm, “From the Past to the Future: The LWF Study Series on Worship and Culture as Vision and Mission,” in Worship and Culture  Foreign Country or Homeland?, 9

One Mediator

The Christology of Hebrews also undoes forever any notion of mystical communion with God. By this, I mean that communion which bypasses Christ to have a direct experience of divine enlightenment, or some numinous spiritual feeling. This is important when we see many contemporary worship songs, activities and approaches which emphasis the inner psychological/emotional state of the worshipper and use it as the criterion to decide if worship has been effective or not. Hebrews will not let us replace the mediation of Christ with the mediation of the worship leader who is able to engender an effective response, which is then interpreted as direct communion with God.

—Noel Due, Created For Worship:  From Genesis to Revelation to You, 181

There’s a Wide World Out There

Worship leaders should begin by finding the center point of their congregation’s comfortable style, then stretch and expand outward from there, slowly and intentionally. It’s important not to overload with some kind of sudden global worship frenzy, but to be gracious about people’s learning curve.

—Debra and Ron Rienstra, Ron, Worship Words: Discipling Language for Faithful MinistryChapter 10: “Something Borrowed, Worshiping with the Global Church,” 216

The Only Priest

The exalted Lord Jesus Christ is the only priest we need for constant access to God (Heb. 8:1-6; 10:19-23). Our ‘altar’ is the cross, where Jesus shed his blood to make us his holy people (Heb. 13:10-12). Since He was ‘sacrificed once to take away the sins of many’ (Heb. 9:28; 10:10, 14), there are no prescribed rituals for us to follow. Worship is to be expressed in every sphere of life, as a grateful response to the saving work of Christ.

—David G. Peterson, Encountering God Together, 20

Initiated by God

The worship of sinful and fallen people necessitates divine mediation if the sacrifice is to be good, perfect and acceptable to God. The pagan worship that surrounded the patriarchs was often a work of appeasement, a work initiated by people seeking to win divine favor. Biblical worship emerges in the Hebrew and Christian Scripture as that which is initiated by God, mediated by God, and is a response of the people of God to the grace and favor of God they have already experienced.

—Robbie F. Castleman, Story Shaped Worship, Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 38

Once and Done

Have a free-for-all time with a small group and design a service of worship that is entirely focused on meeting all your needs, hopes, desires, style preferences and favorite theological ideas. This might be considered an exercise to get it out of your system! 

—Robbie F. Castleman, Robbie F., Story Shaped Worship, Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 76