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The Art of Worship

Worship must be learned.

"God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

  - John 4.24

The praise of Christ is illustrious speech,/ the worship of God's Son is an art full of virtue.

  - Broccan, Hymn to Saint Brigid (Irish, 7th century)

Worship is a learned art. In order to worship God we must know the truth about worship, and most of us don't gain an understanding of truth apart from some effort at learning. Worship also takes place in a particular framework - spirit. And this framework is not our natural habitat. We have to learn how to operate out of the framework of the spiritual life.

Worship itself is a combination of activities involving the set of our souls and the use of our bodies within a context of particular elements and forms, through which we are led as a body of believers.

Worship must be learned. It is an art, "an art full of virtue." Worship leads to virtue because worship in spirit and truth brings us into the presence of God and His glory where His Spirit is able to transform us increasingly into the image of Jesus Christ.

But worship must be learned. We must be taught how to worship. It does not come naturally just because we join some group of people who are doing certain things that seem to have something to do with worship.

We must be taught how to prepare for worship. How to think about it and to understand the different elements of worship. We must learn which affections to engage and with what kind of focus. Someone has to teach us what it means to "participate" in God in worship, because that doesn't just happen.

And worship is not simply something we "feel" - Man, I really worshiped today! Our feelings about worship may or may not coincide with God's expectations. But how will we ever know, unless we learn something more about worship?

So when was the last time you were taught anything about worship? Or studied anything about this important aspect of the life of faith? Have you learned to worship just be being a Christian and going to church? If so, it's altogether possible you haven't learned anything much about worshiping in spirit and truth.

It would be sad to learn, wouldn't it, that all these years given to "worshiping" God have simply missed the mark?

Pastors don't teach about worship very much because, I suppose, they think there are more important things to bring before their people.

Think again.

God is seeking worshipers! And if we're not worshiping in the way He prescribes, He's not looking for us.

Would you say that your own worship of God is a work of art?

Would you agree that it should be?

T. M. Moore, Principal

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Help us enlist men to seek the Lord as they've never done before. Order copies of If Men Will Pray and give them to every man you know. Then follow-up to see if he's taken the message to heart. And if you want to learn about worship, order the book, The Highest Thing, and see what God has to say about this important facet of the life of faith.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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