People have always questioned the value of a worship service… I’ve been to some big churches in my day. I remember specifically going to one worship service and stopping and wondering “is this it? Is this what God wants?” I think I’ve been to so many worship services that it becomes just an “event” to me. I begin to think God must hate them… But then I realize that it’s not the service god hates it’s my stuck up attitude that tells me that it’s only an "event." I loose track of the reality that lies within what we call a “worship service.” Then I begin to see it again that God loves His peoples worship.
I think if you understand symbolism, community, and tradition our "events" called worship services hold very real value to God and are powerful.
They can become shallow, yes, but the truth they represent, their symbolism is deep if you let it be deep. If it stays trapped in a room of a church and in time then yes, they're meaningless. But if we allow them to break through the church doors and continue in our daily lives then I whole heartedly believe that God loves them.
The community aspect is also beautifully powerful... Gods people gathered in His name is honored in scripture. God loves it.
And let’s not forget tradition... For generations’ people’s lives have been changed through the gathering of worshippers. It’s a tradition that’s been passed down to us that we may enjoy and celebrate it… should we just throw it out?
People have questioned the idea of worship gathering for generations. If you think we’re the first ones to wonder if God values them then you’re wrong. God does indeed hate empty gatherings, prideful gatherings, and hypocritical gatherings. He despises fake worship, worship that has nothing to do with life… He hates it. But let us not forget that “worship service” is only a name given to a huge concept that is powerful when it’s done and lived out. If it was just a single “event” then it wouldn’t really be worthy of being called a worship service.
When we worship in one of these services we’re not just singing we’re giving all we have to pull forth from its cage all of our love and emotion towards God... and it’s not just you and me doing it it’s us… We’re doing it. We are reaching our hands into a hidden dimension and pulling our hearts from it. Worship is a small flame that we can see that represents a huge fire that we can’t see.
In the words of N.T Wright, "Symbols of the natural world become vehicles of the heavenly world, of which we are called to be citizens."
We must not forget what it really is, a symbol of something great that lasts and goes on and on in our lives. If we forget, then it becomes just an "orchestrated event,” something cheap that comes and goes. When we remember, God loves it. God loves a “worship service…” if that’s what it is.
What do I love when I love my God? Not physical beauty, or the splendor of
time; not the radience of earthly light so pleasent in our eyes; not the sweet
meoldies of harmony and song; not the fragrant smell of flowers, perfumes and
spices; nto manna or honey; not limbs such as the flesh delights to embrace.
These are not the things I love when I love my God.
And yet, when I love him, I do indeed love a certain kind of light a voice,
a fragrance, a food, an embrace; but this love takes place in my inner person,
when my soul is bathed in light that is not bound by space; when it listens to
sound that time never takes away; when it breaths in a fragrance which no breeze
carries away; when it tastes food which no eating can diminish; when it clings
to an embrace which is not broken when desire is fulfilled. This is what I love
when I love my God." -Saint Augustine