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Unread 05-06-2017, 06:34 PM   #1
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Joined: Apr 2003
Location: Scranton, PA
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Worship Selection Sunday May 7, 2017

"The perfect church service would be the one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God. But every novelty prevents this. It fixes our attention on the service itself; and thinking about worship is a different thing than worshipping ... 'Tis mad idolatry that makes the service greater than the god." C. S. Lewis

• The Heart of Worship
• Before the Throne of God Above

"If the essence of worship is satisfaction in God, then worship can’t be done authentically as a means to anything else. You simply can’t say to God, I want to be satisfied in you so that I can have something else. Because that would mean that you are not really satisfied in God but in that something else. And that would dishonor God, not worship him.

But in fact for thousands of people and pastors the event of “worship” on Sunday morning is conceived of as a means to accomplish something other than worship. We “worship” to raise money; we “worship” to attract crowds; we “worship” to heal human hurts; we “worship” to recruit workers; we “worship” to improve church morale. We “worship” to give talented musicians an opportunity to fulfil their calling; we “worship” to teach our children the way of righteousness; we “worship” to help marriages stay together; we “worship” to evangelize the lost among us; we “worship” to motivate people for service projects; we “worship” to give our churches a family feeling, etc., etc.

In all of this we bear witness that we do not know what true worship is. Genuine affections for God are an end in themselves. I cannot say to my wife: “I feel a strong delight in you — so that you will make me a nice meal.” That is not the way delight works. It terminates on her. It does not have a nice meal in view. I cannot say to my son, “I love playing ball with you — so that you will cut the grass.” If your heart really delights in playing ball with him, that delight cannot be performed as a means to getting him to do something else.

Now I am not denying that authentic worship may have a hundred good effects on the life of the church. It will, just as true affection in marriage makes everything better. My point is that to the degree that we do “worship” for these reasons, to that degree it ceases to be authentic worship. Keeping satisfaction in God at the center guards us from that tragedy." -John Piper

• Once Again
• Blessed Be Your Name
• What Can I Do?

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Unread 07-12-2017, 11:41 PM   #2
Lo, He comes...
 
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Joined: Apr 2002
Location: Vancouver, BC
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Lewis is right, and this is exactly why the worship of classical Christianity is both liturgical and sacramental. The service and its format ought not be subject to the whimsy of the presbyter (=priest) or the cantor/choir director (worship leader, in a Protestant context), except in the most perfunctory sense (for example, the choir director's decision to use the Kastorsky or the Trubacheyev or the Byzantine or Georgian melodies for the Cherubic Hymn, which hymn is a fixed - and very important - part of the service). In the fact that the Church sets forth what prayers are to be said (which petitions include asking for every conceivable thing, with the possibility of adding different ones from time to time), what is to be done at certain times by whom, and that the Eucharist is to be celebrated every time that Christians gather, the focus is taken off of whatever our particular slant might be - and onto what is happening in the Divine Service - namely, the entering into the Kingdom of God that the presbyter declares with the opening words of the Liturgy, "Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages!" - which Kingdom is made present that very hour by the presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, and the people, in consuming the Body of Christ, are reconstituted as the Body of Christ and offered to the Father through and in Him, by the Holy Spirit.
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I believe, O Lord, and I confess, that You are truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief...
~ Ryan Isaac

Lo! How a rose e'er blooming from tender stem hath sprung,
Of Jesse's lineage coming, as seers of old hath sung,
It came a flower bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half-spent was the night.

Isaiah t'was foretold it, the rose I have in mind,
With Mary we behold it, the Virgin Mother kind,
To show God's love aright, she bore to us a Saviour,
When half-spent was the night.

O flower whose fragrance tender with gladness fills the air,
Dispel with glorious speldour the darkness everywhere,
True man, yet very God! From sin and death He saves us,
And lightens every load.

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