Over the last few decades most of us have heard about the “worship wars” that have happened in churches. The term is really a misnomer because if there is warring going on in the church the worship isn’t happening. What usually happens is that we have our human preferences about worship is and then transfer them to what we think God’s preferences are. Worship is not what kind or style of music we use – it is not traditional or contemporary – it is not free worship or liturgical – it is not in what version of the Bible we use. [Dale: there are so many things that we use to define what worship is – I like to think that worship is everything that we do to glorify God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.] Worship has everything to do with our hearts and our attitudes as we worship.
A good place to start is Isaiah 6. Isaiah is in the temple doing his priestly duties — one of them may be worshiping God and the leading of others in worship. Let’s take a look at Isaiah 6:1-4:
1 It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. 2 Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. 3 They were calling out to each other,
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies!
The whole earth is filled with his glory!”
4 Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke.
Sometimes I think we forget why we are going to church and who we are worshipping. I grew up in a tradition where you entered the sanctuary and began to prepare your heart for the service. Part of what has happened is that as our culture has grown more casual, so has our worship and our approach to worship. While I don’t see a problem with making people feel comfortable, we also need to remember that the sanctuary is a special place – a place where we meet a holy God. It is a special place set apart (therefore holy) where we worship God. I write this to remind each one of us, including myself that as we enter the place of worship, let’s remember that we are preparing to worship the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, and the God of Gods.
The first thing that happens in worship is preparing our hearts to worship God. We must remember how Holy God is – that he is much more than our friend. He is worthy of more than we could ever give.