In God’s Presence: A Short Theology of Worship Throughout Scripture we hear the call to worship and we witness many acts

of worship. I want to share with you a short statement or a short theology of worship. As a starting point here is my nutshell definition: worship is making ourselves present to God. Let us then proceed. God has from the beginning made himself present to us. Worship is the means by which we make ourselves present to God. It is our response, freely chosen, to enter into his presence. Worship, then, is the reversal of the experience of Eden where humanity was "barred" from the experience of the immediate presence of God in that it is through worship that we (re)enter his presence. John Weborg suggested that we make ourselves present to God by his making himself present to us. God has made himself present to us through his acts. "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech..." However, this is a "voiceless" declaration. In an even more profound way, God makes himself present through his word. "The law of the Lord-the testimony of the Lord ... the precepts of the Lord..." and "... He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways..." Through his speech, through his word, God makes himself present to us. The ultimate speech is Jesus who is Emanuel, "God With Us,” the Word of God made flesh. It is through worship that we make ourselves present to God. In the Old Testament this was accomplished in measure, by the “rules” of worship, which freed people to come before God.” Though it might be said that the act of following those rules was the act of worship it must be noted that such acts were efficacious only to the extent that the worshiper came with a heartfelt desire to know God expressed through obedience to the law of God. Even then there remained a barrier between the worshipper and the One worshipped. It was only in the offering of Christ that the barrier was removed and the "Door" of heaven opened to the worshipper. As a result, our logical or reasonable worship (liturgy, service) is to present our bodies (our whole person) as living sacrifices to God. In this sense, worship is a broad term that encompasses all of ones life in that it is a way of living. To worship is to present ones whole self to God, that is, we make ourselves present to God by giving him ourselves as a present. However, as with the former approach, so with the latter and more perfect approach, we must come on the basis of the prescribed way. If God makes himself present to us through acts and speech then we also must make ourselves present to him in acts and speech. And these cannot be of our own making but must be in accord with his word and character. However proceed in this matter, one thing is clear, God is Spirit and those who worship him must do so in spirit and in truth. Another important matter to take note of: The Bible is more conscious of a “People” then persons. In worship there is the sense of Body or community. There is a corporate-ness to worship that cannot be neglected and must in fact be cultivated and developed. These two ideas (spirit and community) are one way that we understand the transformation that Christ brought about. The spiritual Tent called the Church has replaced the material Tent known to us the Tabernacle or Tent of Meeting (latter replaced by the Temple). Therefore, to be in the presence of his people is to be in the presence of God. As individuals, we present ourselves to God in our words and actions according to the Spirit. In the same way we present ourselves corporately to our God in our words and actions. Finally, worship is an exchange, a conversation at the deepest level. We make ourselves present to God in our prayers, praise, thanksgivings and acts of service. But, we also make ourselves present to God in waiting and listening for his word, his revelation of himself to us and by opening to him the "door" of our heart, our person. In this way we worship.

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