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Series: All In – Prayers, Presence, Gifts, Service and Witness
Sermon: Present to Worship
Text: Psalm 100
Rev. Laura Brewster
Introduction to Series
Have you ever met someone who’s faith is so deep and rich that they just exude love, peace, hope, and joy? How can we grow into Christians who look like that? It helps to engage in actions that can lead to a transformed life. This week we begin a series of messages regarding such actions. We’re calling this series “All In” because these are actions which are needed if we are truly going to go “all in” when it comes to responding to God’s love and doing our part to grow in relationship with God. We will begin with worship.
What is Worship?
Worship is the act of honoring and praising God. This work is done in response to who God is and what God does. Worship is not a spectator sport. We are called to be actively engaged in this effort. Paul made this clear when he told the Ephesians: “be filled with the Spirit, 19 as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ” (Ephesians 5: 18b-20) The invitation to be “all in” when we worship is also present in First Corinthians 14:26b and Psalm 100, among other passages.
Elements in Worship
United Methodist Churches include four elements in worship designed to help us engage in worship services.
1) Gathering. When we enter the church and begin to gather with fellow worshippers, we are reminded that we have a choice. We can choose to focus on ourselves or shift our focus to God. We must intentionally shift our focus to God to place ourselves in the right position to possibly encounter God.
2) Proclamation. Next, we hear scripture proclaimed and a message based on scripture. As we listen, our quest is to try and ascertain what the scripture is saying to each of us as we sit here today. Take notes to begin to actively process what you hear.
3) Response. After hearing a word from scripture, we are asked to respond. We respond by receiving Holy Communion, and we respond by giving our gifts. Both are opportunities to reflect on what has given to us and to pledge ourselves and our gifts in response to God’s grace.
4) Sending Forth. We conclude by being sent back out into the world where we are asked to share God’s love with a hurting world and work with God to transform the world. “Worship begins with expectancy. It ends with obedience.”
Does Active Worship Always Lead to Meaningful Worship?
If we give careful attention to our time of gathering, hearing the proclamation, responding, and going forth, will our worship experience always be a mountain top experience? Probably not. Yet, we continue to come to worship because God remains worthy of worship. Additionally, if we faithfully attend worship, we will be here on “that” Sunday when our Lord reveals his presence in a particularly meaningful manner.
Invitation to Commitment
Will you commit to getting an “A” in worship in the year ahead? In school, an “A” is 90 or above. I challenge you to be here 90% of the Sundays in the year ahead.