Giving Thanks (2)

In the case of the God of the universe, such possibility of return [reciprocation for a favor bestowed] dissipates, as no human beings can offer anything in return that can do justice to the gift received. The only proper response, then, is praise and worship. In describing divine-human encounter, therefore, thanksgiving and praise understandably merge and become the one and only proper and response to God who is the source of all power and goodness.

In short, to offer thanks to God is to live a life of worship.

—David W. Pao, Thanksgiving: An Investigation of a Pauline Theme, 28, 164

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The Audience of One

If we define all that we are before our great Caller and live our lives before one audience—the Audience of One—then we cannot define or decide our own achievements and our own success. It is not for us to say what we have accomplished. It is not for us to pronounce ourselves successful. It is not for us to spell out what our legacy has been. Indeed, it is not even for us to know. Only the Caller can say.

—Os Guinness, The Call

Not the Center

Biblically shaped worship is a powerful way to remind ourselves that although we are beloved by God, we’re not really the star of our own story. Only in union with Christ by the Spirit are we the children of God and brothers and sisters in the community of faith. 

—Robbie F. Castleman, Story Shaped Worship: Following Patterns from the Bible and History, 203-4

Worship God! (Revelation 22:9)

In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.

If you worship money and things—if they are where you tap real meaning into life—then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough.

Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.

Worship power—you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay.

Worship your intellect, being seen as smart—you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out.

James K. A. Smith, Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works, 22

God Our Creator

“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.” (from the Apostles’ Creed)

What does this mean? I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.

Martin Luther, Smaller Catechism

All of the Above

The ‘vertical’ and the ‘horizontal’ dimensions of what takes place should not be artificially separated. One part of our meetings cannot be ‘the worship time’ (prayer and praise) and another part ‘the edification time’ (preaching and exhortation), since Paul’s teaching encourages us to view the same activities from both points of view.

—David G. Peterson, Encountering God Together, 41