Sunday, November 9, 2008

True Worship

I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable ad perfect. Romans 12:1-2

"For Paul, worship means "to present your bodies," or, in our language, "to offer your very selves." In true and genuine worship, everything we have is to be offered to God; every part of our lives is presented as a "living sacrifice." Worship, then, is not limited to a ceremony, an occasion, a service, a place, or a particular time during the week. The worship events that punctuate our lives are intended simply to gather and focus all the parts of our lives. According to Paul, all of life, all of who we are and all that we do, is the content of our worship. Worship is the drawing together of the whole of our lives and the offering of that whole to the Lord. All of our humanity and all of our relationships--to God, to the world, and to one another--are brought into worship. We offer our brokenness and remember our wholeness. We offer our alienation and uprootedness, and we recall our rootedness in the history of God's people. To offer ourselves so totally to God is what Paul describes as "spiritual worship."

Paul's next words are about conformity to this world.... Paul is saying that conformity to the world is more than a failure of lifestyle or politics; conformity to the world is a failure of worship. The integrity and vitality of our worship is tested in our relationships to the world. Paul, knowing how often we will fail these tests, calls us to be transformed. He wants us to have our minds renewed so that we may know the will of God, that we may know what God is saying to us, that we may know "what is good and acceptable and perfect." Without this transformation, we will continue to conform to the patterns and structures of this world; without this renewal, we cannot know the will of God because our attachments to the world cloud our vision and obstruct our hearing.

...In worship we are refreshed and renewed, our vision is rekindled, and we remember again who we are and what we are about."

(The Call To Conversion, Jim Wallis, HarperSanFranciso, 1981, pg. 140-141.)

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