In Jon Wilson’s Why Church Matters, which explores Christian practices that make the Church what is (supposed to be), the first major practice is worship. He’s got three interesting themes to give us a nice topic for discussion:
My question: How much time has been spent in your spiritual formation instruction or in catechetical instruction or in discipleship instruction on teaching (1) what worship is and (2) how we are to worship? Here is the community-shaped spiritual discipline at its center and I wonder if we are doing the job. Any thoughts? How significant a role do the following three themes play in your perception of worship?
First, worship is work. It is work because the human naturally supplants worship of God with worship of other things — like affluence, success, comfort, pleasure, health, entertainment — and we find ourselves far too often in places that focus on such things — like malls and sports stadiums and in front of TVs. It takes a community to worship — so worship is the work of the people. Therefore, it takes instruction: to learn the good from the bad and how to worship as a community.
Second, worship is warfare. As in spiritual warfare. Jon doesn’t hold back and he’s unafraid of those who think spiritual warfare is politically incorrect. “We are engaged” in “the struggle not to allow the enemy to determine how we think about God, ourselves, or the rest of creation” (31). How often do we think of worship in this cosmic context?
Third, worship is witness. Have we gone private on worship? Or, do we take our worship into the public arena? Parks… public venues … etc. When seen, worship is witness to the majesty and redemptive work of God. He suggests creatively appropriating public spaces.