Monday, October 20, 2008

Worshipping More Clearly - Part I

I’ve been thinking a lot about worship lately. In fact, our entire staff at church has been discussing the implications of worship in fantastic and marvelous ways that will be shared with our congregation in the future. I'll be dedicating this entire week to blog on the subject of worship. One theologian who has thought and written on this topic is Kevin J. Vanhoozer, professor of theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His article, “Worship at the Well: From Dogmatics to Doxology (and Back Again)" [Trinity Journal, 2002, V. 23, No. 1, 3-16.] attempts to clarify the meaning of worship and the response that is expected from those who honestly seek to worship God.

Vanhoozer discusses the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan women in John 4. In the article he asks, “Does it really matter how we worship? Yes it does, because ultimately it is not simply a question of ‘how,’ but also of ‘what.’ Questions of style are not unrelated to questions of substance”(5). What does he mean? Vanhoozer says that "The Samaritans’ knowledge of God was partial, hence their worship was defective. The problem was not that the Samaritans lacked exhaustive knowledge of God (who does not?), but that they did not know enough to worship him correctly” (8). So what is the point? Well this would mean that we must demand, for example, that our worship songs be scripturally clear in what they say about God, his nature and his ways. Because worship forms us we want to strive to worship God according to what he has revealed about his holiness and Sovereignty, as well as about his love, mercy, and justice.

Worship must go beyond what we do on Sundays. Our corporate worship should be an overflow of our daily practice of worshipping God "in spirit and truth". This leads to the following question: What happens when the eyes of believers are opened so that they see God for who he is? We'll look at what Vanhoozer says about this question tomorrow.
Por Su Gracia y Poder

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