Thursday, March 4, 2010

Role of Worship in Spiritual Formation (3)

A grateful community in worship

A worshipping community acknowledges their identity in God, in their relationship in God, and in their expression of gratitude for what God has done. A grateful worshipping community will be the strongest weapon for the Malaysian Christians including the English-speaking Presbyterians to survive in a religious pluralistic society, and against the Islamisation program of the government. A grateful Christian faith community has a sense of identity as one who receives from a God who cares and gives. The sense of identity is important especially when there are efforts from another religious community to displace that sense of community. Worship reminds the Christian faith community that they are poor yet rich in Christ.

Worship may be done in churches, at their workplace or anywhere at all. While in church, worship is the participation of the whole community, not just the act of the worship leader while the rest of the congregation sit as passive spectators. However, as theologian Marva Dawn insists, worship is a performance for the audience of One, not for one another[i]. (1995, 82). Dawn is writing in response to some churches where worship has become a performance. Celebrity worship leaders lead in the singing backed by professional standard musicians. The problem arises when people goes to the service because of the performance of the worship leaders and the music. The worshippers are the audience watching the cues and leads of the worship leaders or the pastors. The focus is on the people on the stage. True worship is when the worshippers, the leaders and pastor all focus on God the subject of our worship, an audience of one. Dawn hasten to add that “because God is the subject, we always remember that we can only be actors because he acted first” (1995, 82). Dawn’s point is that everything done in worship should be for God alone.

Works cited

Dawn, M. J. (1995). Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down: A Theology of Worship for the Turn-of-the-Century Culture. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.


[i] The worship service has become a performance or a theatre. (Dawn, 1995) p.82

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