This is an excerpt from a book called Gospel Wakefulness, by Jared Wilson. He is writing about the a common reflection on a stirring worship experience or event, when people say that “God really showed up.” Wilson warns about this approach to corporate worship which he understands, but which is also misguided. I found this convicting and compelling personally, and believe our experience, individually and collectively, would be enriched and far more transformative if we gathered for Sunday morning worship with this shared approach:
The danger we face when we worship is coming into the experience assuming we are summoning God. We assume that worship is our initiative. There are of course plenty of examples in the Scriptures of a worshiper asking God to “draw near” or “come by”, but the tenor of so much of our worship does not reflect scriptural worship, which presupposes no one seeks God whom God has not sought. Yet much of evangelical worship implicitly assumes we are the ones in control, that we are bringing the best of ourselves and our holy desire to worship, when the reality is that worship does not begin with the worshiper. It begins with God. It is a response to God’s calling upon us.
Let us treat the time we spend in corporate singing as a response to God’s person and works…
Christ Jesus is both the author and the finisher of our faith. It is God who commands the land to separate from the sea. It is God who calls out to Adam and Eve as they cower in the bushes. It is God who summons Abraham and marks him out. It is God who interrupts Moses with fire. It is God who gives dreams and visions, God who anoints, God who declares, God who spans, God who commands, God who reigns. We d not summon the king; the king summons us. He breathes life into us. It is God who speaks light into the darkness; it is God who commands into the tunnel, “Lazarus, come forth!” And it is we who respond.
What would our worship in music look like if we entered the sanctuary wakened to this divine summons, acknowledging that God has already “shown up” in creation, that he has already “shown up” in the incarnation, that he has already “shown up” in the crucifixion and resurrection? What if we came in confessing that although he wants our worship, he does not need it? What would it look like if we sang and played and knelt and raised hands like we are dust and he is the very breath of life, instead of the other way around? (Gospel Wakefulness, Jared C. Wilson, p. 88-89)
New Year's Day is coming on Sunday. Celebrate the New Year, but I hope you'll plan to get to bed at a reasonable hour so you can join us at 10:30 with glad and full hearts for some wakened worship of the King of Glory, who has summoned with His gospel and who keeps us by His grace.