Jesus declares, “The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him” (John 4:23). Some more great words from Richard Foster’s writing about worship:
Worship is our response to the overtures of love from the heart of the Father. Its central reality is found “in spirit and truth.” It is kindled within us only when the Spirit of God touches our human spirit. Forms and rituals do not produce worship, nor does the disuse of forms and rituals. We can use all the right techniques and methods, we can have the best possible liturgy, but we have not worshiped the Lord until Spirit touches spirit…Until God touches and frees our spirit we cannot enter this realm. Singing, praying, praising all may lead to worship, but worship is more than any of them. Our spirit must be ignited by the divine fire.
To say that forms are secondary is not to say that they are irrelevant. As long as we are finite human beings we must have forms. We must have “wineskins” that will embody our experience of worship . But the forms are not the worship; they only lead us into the worship. We are free in Christ to use whatever forms will enhance our worship, and if any form hinders us from experiencing the living Christ – too bad for them.
It is my prayer and my hope that we at Restoration use the tools (as Foster says – forms and liturgies) around us to engage with the reigning Christ that our sights may be Kingdom oriented thus God-glorifying. This Sunday we will sing “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun” with a chorus added by the band Enfield. Here is one of the verses we will sing followed by the new chorus:
Where He displays His healing power,
Death and the curse are known no more.
In Him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost.
He shall reign in glory, crowned in grace and might.
Bless His name and praise our sov’reign King
He shall reign forever with His chosen Bride,
And all the Earth shall sing that Jesus is the King!
Amen! For the sake of the body, spend some time before Sunday’s service to reflect on what it means for Arlington that our risen Christ Reigns.
The other Scriptures and songs can be found at the restorationmusic website. Prepare yourselves to gather and proclaim his Kingdom together this Sunday!