Vicki and I sat together during a Counseling in a Week training program and what a privilege it was to spend that time with her. One of the things I learned from her was that a quiet disposition of the heart is something to be treasured. I pray I can imitate her on that!
Thank you, dear Vicki for your willingness to contribute to this series on Faithful Obedience.
Faithful Obedience In Our Worship Practice
by Vicki Church
What came to my mind as I thought of faithful obedience was being obedient in our worship of God. Worship shapes our life in so many ways. It teaches us to sing praises to God, to read and understand the scriptures, and to confess our sins. We are fed through the Word and the sacraments. I am thankful to my parents who raised me in the Christian faith and for my husband who took our family to worship each Sunday. Of course, there were time that it was hard to get everyone ready to get out the door. And, there were times when I went out of a sense of duty and without a desire to worship. But this simple act of obedience was one that has shaped my life and for which I am grateful.
When we assemble as one body, we meet together to praise God, pray, confess our sins, and we are fed through the sacraments and the Word. This establishes the pattern for our lives.
I was so blessed to be raised in a home where it was the rhythm to our week. We usually planned our vacation time around Sunday worship, either leaving on Monday or planning where we would worship when we were away from our home church. It may be felt by some to be legalistic, and I confess that as a child sometimes it felt that way. But as we raised our children, I began to understand the reasons for the adherence to the Sabbath and appreciate it.
One incident in particular comes to mind. My husband and I and our three children just arrived home from Sunday worship and there was a phone message on our answering machine. My youngest sister had just been in a car accident and was in a coma. We quickly grabbed some clothes and drove the two and a half hours to the hospital. The Lord took her the following Saturday morning. On Sunday morning we all attended church. It was difficult to sing some of the songs, especially “It is Well with my Soul”, but the Word and the music was like balm to my soul. We found ourselves praising and thanking God through our tears.
One of the foundational commandments is “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8. The prophet Ezekiel reminded the Israelites, “Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD who sanctifies them. “
Worship teaches us to sing praises to our Father. I heard Elizabeth Elliot speak at a conference some years ago. I was struck by the number of hymns that peppered her speech. The Word just permeated her thought pattern because of the hymns that she had learned through worship. What a blessing to be taught the Word and hymns from an early age!
Worship teaches us to constantly look to the Lord to be fed through His Word. As we open the scriptures each day it calls to mind and reinforces what we have been taught through the exposition of God’s Word each Sunday. As many of us are involved in the Bible challenge, we are reading the scripture more than ever. Hearing it exposited each Sunday, makes the weekly reading more understandable and helps us to develop deeper roots. We are taught how to think about the world and equipped to handle what the Lord gives us to practice that week.
Worship feeds us at His table each week. Being summoned and welcomed to the table each week, instills a pattern of hospitality that we can imitate in welcoming others to our table each week.
The apostle Paul also exhorts us. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching. “ (Hebrews 10:24-25)
I am so grateful to be able to worship each Sunday and pray that the Lord will use it more and more to shape me to be able to understand His Word, to follow the example of sharing a table, to confess sin, in short to grow in grace.