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Theology of Worship

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    Sara Norris, A153 Intro 2 Worship Prof K Sanders 21 February 2012 Theology of Worship: Old, New & Now Worship is homage; it is an attitude and activity designed to recognize and describe the worth of a person (969 Ryken). ” The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery could not have said it better; worship is something that comes from within a person and is active and alive, a lifestyle. The need to worship is inbred, intuition and something we cannot escape… we were made for it. Worship is the result of an encounter, an experience, a motive or a desire.

    It brings life to the idea of there being a higher power that has control over everything. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words worship comes from the Greek proskuneo, meaning “to make obeisance, do reverence to” many things, but for our main purpose it the reverence shown to God. Worship as a noun can mean reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to anything that is regarded as sacred; as a verb it is used when feeling an adoring reverence or regard for any person or thing. As Christians the one and only recipient of our worship is God because he is worthy of it.

    For many years the Tabernacle was the pinnacle of the worship experience for any Jew; and perhaps even more so for the countries around it, since it was so rich and beautiful. But before having the building, the Tabernacle was a caravan displaying the Glory of God to everyone. According to Yehezkel Kaufman, “The tent [Tabernacle] then is a priestly-prophetic vehicle with the prophetic, the oracular predominating. The lustrations performed in the tent are designed to make it fit for divine revelation, for law-giving, for judgment, for guiding the people through the desert (184). The Tabernacle then came to symbolize the center of the Jewish worship culture, important to the point of governing their moral and judicial codes of conduct. In the desert wanderings the Israelites had proof of the Lord being with them during the day in a pillar of cloud, and at night with a pillar of fire (Ex 13:21), but God wanted them to really feel His presence so that they would stop complaining so much, so He gave Moses directions in Exodus 25 to make a sanctuary for Him.

    The Israelites had just witnessed the Hand of God move mightily on their behalf; the “Exodus” from Egypt was a worldwide phenomenon, everyone knew about it and did not want to have any problems with them. God had confidence in His chosen people, not so sure about the confidence they had in themselves to accept and acknowledge the importance of their role to the world. But, continuing with the Tabernacle, let us discuss the rituals and people involved in making and maintaining it.

    Exodus 40 discusses the setup of the Tabernacle and also the appointing of Aaron’s line, Moses’ brother, as the High Priesthood of Israel, “Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance to the tent of meeting and wash them with water. Then dress Aaron in the sacred garments, anoint him and consecrate him so he may serve me as priest. Bring his sons and dress them in tunics. Anoint them just as you anointed their father, so they may serve me as priests. Their anointing will be to a priesthood that will continue throughout their generations (40:12-15). Having a dynasty of sorts to handle the most sacred and influential position meant that God was staying with Israel for the long haul. When Aaron and his sons where anointed, the favor of God came upon the family, and the priesthood was established. No one else could fake it into the Tabernacle’s affairs. All the priests were from the tribe of Levi, no priest could come out of any other tribe. There were two rooms to the tabernacle – the Holy Place and the Holiest of Holies. Only the high priest was allowed to go in the Holiest of Holies.

    The artists used for the making of the different pieces distributed throughout the Tabernacle, were inspired by God to make each a beautiful masterpiece. The Holy Spirit directed their hands and they produced good work before the Lord. This is interesting because God used people that had the creative spark and enhanced to the highest level possible. This is to show us that He uses all our abilities. The objects in the Tabernacle were the Brazen altar (Ex 27:1-8), used for the sacrifice offerings such as sin, peace, wave, drink, meal and trespass offerings.

    The Laver was made out of solid brass from the women’s mirrors; used for the priest to wash their hands and feet before they would enter the Holy Place. The Lamp stand was made of pure gold, it was the only light in the Holy Place; the oil was constantly kept since the Light was never to go out. The Table of Shewbread held the bread the Priests and sons would eat every Sabbath when they went to put oil in the Lamp stand. The Altar of incense stood next to the veil in front of the Holy of Holies, it was the separation from the Holy Place. And the Mercy seat was on top of the Ark and was in the Holy of Holies, God ppeared in a cloud on top of the Mercy seat. All these objects are a type of aspect of our Christian life and walk today. The Brazen altar is where the sacrifice for all our transgressions is made, and Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for us. The Laver is the washing/baptism, which gives us the segway to our new life in Christ since the indwelling of the Holy Spirit happens at that time. The Lamp stand is the Word of God (Ps 119:105). The Table of Shewbread is also a type for the Word because it feeds us to renew our strength in the walk we are pursuing with God.

    The Altar of Incense symbolizes our praise and worship of God, which in turn gets us closer and closer to the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God. And the Mercy seat and Ark represent the duties God entrusts upon us as we accept the calling He has placed in our lives, and follow it by abiding in His Laws, Commandments and Statutes. The worship done through the tabernacle brought on a sense of there not being any other way to get to the Father than through the sacrifice of something living to transfer life to us.

    Sin is death, whether physical or most importantly spiritual, it negates the breath of life God has breathed into us. The offerings for sin, peace, trespassing, etc. were to be used so that the relationship God had established with Israel would not suffer distancing, so that they would not look to another source but to Him. In the New Testament, though we find that Christian worship is rooted in the Jewish practices handed down from generation to generation (19 Segler). Because of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, the celebration of many of the feasts and other gatherings to worship were moved to synagogues. The raw material of the Christian worship was a common religious inheritance—the practice, teaching and symbolism of the temple and synagogue, together with the teachings of Jesus(19 Segler). ” Jesus is the focus of the New Testament. His teachings become the new approach to worship because He is asking for an even bigger commitment from the people than ever before by any prophet or judge. His call to surrender, action and to love is what made people listen and in turn change. Jesus next summarizes the essence of true worship, True worshippers shall worship God “in spirit and in the truth” (John :23-24). As far as my theology of worship, I believe that the way worship happens in a person’s life is the same way it happens or should happen in the church as gratitude for God through Christ did for each and every one of us that has believed and accepted him as Lord and Savior. I have never really sat down to see if I have a theology of worship; worship is to praise God and live according to what He has set out in one’s life. The kinds of things that are done in worship is what makes a difference.

    People are different and the way they show worship is and might be completely different to the way I do, but does not mean that is wrong. I for one like worship in motion, or praise dancing, because when I am in communion with the Holy Spirit that’s what it moves me to do. It can be as complicated or as simple as one wants it to be, since we are the ones that know what we are comfortable with or not. Worship is an expression, something extremely important that cannot be tainted with anything that will not allowing to flow free from the worshiper to the one being worshiped, namely God.

    Our worship life nowadays reflects the same kind of principle just without the constant physical bloodshed. We have been atoned for our sin through Christ Jesus and are therefore allowed continuous entry to the Holy of Holies, the very presence of God. As worshipers, we not only have the duty to serve as the Levitical priesthood in a sense, but to make sure that the practices we teach are also ingrained in our daily life. Worship is a lifestyle and that’s what God wanted Israel to understand. Yes, they made mistakes, but God was ready and willing to help them overcome the obstacle and allow them a chance to get loser and closer to Him. Without a reason, there’s no real worship. God through his Son made sure we had the means as well as the reason to worship Him completely and eternally. “ Reconciliation is about: God’s change of attitude towards us, the removal of His anger and enmity towards us, i. e. His readiness to bring punishment on us, and His taking on a favorable attitude towards us, a readiness to bless us, so that we may enter into a personal and living relationship with Him”, says Romerowski (22).

    Also the teaching of reconciliation brings the unity God has been wanting with his people all along. He is doing or has done everything possible to get us to our righteous place… with HIM! It is striking that Paul presents our reconciliation and that of the creation with God as God’s work, as something we have received (Rom 5:11) and that he states that this reconciliation has been achieved by the death of Christ who has become sin for us (Rom 5:9-11; 2 Cor 5:14,18-21; Eph 2:16; Col 1:20-22). (Romerowski 23).

    Worship, our expression, and theology, our knowledge, come together to get us to the next level in our relationship with God; they work as one to motivate the Christians’ faith and empower to live productive life in Christ (Segler 49). In John 4:21-24, Jesus speaks to the Samaritan woman and discusses what worship is, 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 3 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth (NIV). ” This passage really depicts the shattering of all preconceived notions on what worship is to everyone and just very simply explains that there will be God-worshipping according to God period. So many times we as Christians get caught up in the logistics of worship and the traditions that we try to establish as doctrine in order to make ourselves feel better.

    It is quite difficult to try to make everyone believe in things about worship when one is not the creator of it, so as a fellow believer, I encourage prayer and scripture reading to guide the expression of worship used to glorify God. We have been created to worship, to love and honor God. Remember, “Christian worship is not dependent on what worship can do for us or how irt can affect our lives; it is dependent on Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross—the historical fact that God loved us and showed His love through giving his Son and Jesus’ willingness to be obedient to his Father. Segler 49)” God is worthy of our reverence and honor; let that be the conscious reminder of why we sing, dance, do communion, baptize, preach, and teach of Him. Works Cited Peterson, David. Engaging with God a Biblical Theology of Worship. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity, 2004. Print. The Holy Bible: New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005. Print. Romerowski, Sylvain. “Old Testament Sacrifices and Reconciliation. ” European Journal of Theology 16. 1 (2007): 13-24. Academic Search Elite. EBSCO. Web. 21 Sept. 011. Ryken, Leland, Jim Wilhoit, Tremper Longman, Colin Duriez, Douglas Penney, and Daniel G. Reid. “Worship. ” Dictionary of Biblical Imagery. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1998. 969-73. Print. Segler, Franklin M. , C. Randall Bradley, and Franklin M. Segler. Christian Worship: Its Theology and Practice. 3rd ed. Nashville, TN: B & H Pub. Group, 2006. 19-49. Print. Vine, W. E. “Worship (Verb and Noun), Worshiping”, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words. Blue Letter Bible. 1940. 24 June, 1996 19 Feb 2012.

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