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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Worship: Regaining Our Theological Identity

Worship is the great ecclesiological action. God is to be worshipped. But not just on Saturday or Sunday morning in our church services. Worshipping God is a lifestyle, if you will. Worship does not make God present, God is forever present, and therefore we worship Him, and should do so every minute of every day. Worship should in fact change us. Not change us in the sense that we learn in our worship what it means to be a better husband, or be a better mother, or get control of our lives, etc.. This is not worship, unless one is worshipping self. No, worship changes us in the sense that it turns our attention to God.

Worship changes us when we turn our attention to God in repentance. Repenting is not a self help formula it is recognizing our sin, it is turning from our sin, it is turning to God. Once we are penitent, we are prepared to worship God. We are prepared to praise God; we are prepared to please God when we have turned from our sin and placed our attention on God. This is why worship has both a communal and individual aspect.

Worship is communal in that we collectively participate in worship through our gathering together and through our participating in the body and blood of Christ, and through our confessing to one another our sins. We collectively turn our attention to God and recognize Him as what we solely need. It is individual in that in our daily lives we should focus our attention on Him, confess our sins to Him, and live our lives to please Him. This is worship in a service and worship in our lives.

As the great ecclesiological action, worship is a collective gathering of the body of Christ united in one purpose: To Glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Collectively we demonstrate this through the liturgy when we are gathered. Worship is dialogue, as Kim Fabricius has so eloquently stated. It is Word and Sacrament; it is confession and forgiveness, it is Eucharist. These are the central elements of worship when we gather as the body of Christ, if these are absent, then worship does not happen. To ask what we gain from worship is missing the point entirely, but this has been the focus of churches, at least in the U.S., for the last few decades. Regaining our theological identity in worship is, in my estimation, very much needed in the church’s landscape. Moreover, recognizing the centrality of worship when we gather as the body of Christ will be the focus of my final post on worship.

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