Continuing our series of blog posts as an introduction to worship…
In Exodus 35 we read about the building of the Tabernacle and we see gifts of precious metal, precious stones, fine fabrics, leather and other animal skins and acacia wood were all welcome; and that God gave special skill to people to design and craft those materials, carve wood and stones, work with metal and teach others to do the same. Their skills and talents were used in preparing their place of worship.
I think there’s a case to say that using the gifts, talents and even resources that God has given to us in a way that serves and honours Him has the same place in our worship as bringing our financial gifts and offerings to him as an expression of our love, devotion and worship.
Our home church has been very blessed over the years by the skills in banner making, design in fabric and flowers and many, many other practical talents; to say nothing of people giving of their time and energy (as well as money) in many different ways to honour God – some of those sacrifices are more invisible than others (often, but not always, by the choice of the giver) but God sees the heart of the giver and, I believe, accepts their love gifts with a smile.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that whether you are gifted in artistic and practical skills, whether you are gifted in time or gifted in financial resources – those gifts (which let us remember have been distributed among us by God, as he chooses), can be offered back as a pleasing and acceptable gift to Him.
All of this flows out of grateful hearts as expressions of our love to God – and it doesn’t have to wait until we gather together on Sunday, but should flow throughout the week so that every day is a day in which we worship God.
Because of this daily, personal worship, when we join together there should be an overflowing of our worship from the week; as the psalmist puts it “tell of His might acts” that doesn’t mean it has to be a miraculous healing but anything that God has done.
I have often found the most profound things to be moments where God has stepped into the ordinary moments of our lives. Our testimony of God’s goodness feeds our thanksgiving and should cause us to respond in more praise of his excellent greatness.
We don’t all worship the same way; some of us are loud and some of us are quiet, some of us like meditation, some of us like reading scripture, some of us want to leap about and swing from the rafters, some of us want all liturgy, some of want no liturgy and then there’s everything in between.
No one way is right or wrong they are just different.
God is a God of infinite variety and it’s no wonder that we, as his people, are all so different.
That’s why I like that we have different Sunday gatherings together in our home church.
Our earliest service feels (to me) slightly more traditional in it’s form of worship; on the whole it follows a more liturgical style and that’s one of the reasons why the people who like that form of worship may go to that service. Others like a more interactive style so enjoy it when we do a cafe-style mid-morning. Others prefer an even more spontaneous / unstructured environment (such as the ‘River’ service we have some Sunday evenings). Some like to mix prayer and praise. Others like a mixture of everything!
The point is that there is room for all of these – but there must be one element that goes through all of them; GOD is the one whom we worship, HE is the one we want to engage with, commune with, hear from and respond to, be it in quiet contemplation or raucous praise – HE is the object of our affection.