Hearing What God Says

Every time we worship our minds are informed, our memories refreshed with the judgments of God, we are familiarized with what God says, what He has decided, the ways He is working out our salvation. There is simply no place where these can be done as well as in worship. . . . We want to hear what God says and what He says to us: worship is the place where our attention is centered on these personal and decisive words of God.

—Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, 55

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