By Hymn Stories
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." -Hebrews 10:25
"God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." -John 4:24
The apostle Paul's favorite name for fellow believers was "brethren." He used this term at least sixty times throughout his various epistles. Paul's concept of the local church was a worshiping family--the family of God.
Worship is the cornerstone of a believer's spiritual life. The fundamental command of Scripture is that we are to love God with our whole being and to worship and serve only Him. The bedrock of the local church's ministry is its worship service. The manner of worship reflects the depth of our relationship with God--both individually and corporately.
But what is the proper way to worship? Many changes in worship services have occurred in recent times. Synthesizers, guitars, and drum sets have often replaced pianos and organs. Upbeat, repetitive praise choruses are replacing the traditional hymns and gospel songs. Drama, choreography, hand raising, and clapping are practices commonly associated with the more informal-contemporary "celebrations." Changes and practices such as these can be very disturbing to many older Christians, who have been spiritually nurtured on a more meditative type of service. Yet according to Scripture, there are just two basic requirements for true worship: (1) in spirit and (2) in truth. Differences based on cultural change and age preferences alone should never divide the family of faith. Each of us must learn to differentiate between unchanging biblical principles and variable cultural practices.
Regardless of our preferred styles of music and forms of worship, let us reaffirm our purpose each time we gather in our Lord's name to claim and to bask in His promised presence (Matt. 18:20):
To truly glorify and "adore the Lord our God"
To offer praise and gratitude for all of our spiritual provisions and material blessings
To hear, learn, and respond to the inspired Scriptures
To petition for our own needs as well as the concerns of others
To ask and receive divine forgiveness for our sins
To gain a greater desire to represent our Lord worthily in this needy world
It is in the process of being worshiped that God communicates His presence to people. -C. S. Lewis