Wednesday Word: Worship
The Mission of St. John's is to . . . Worship
In this month's Soundings I wrote about the process the Vestry went through to come up with a mission statement that captured what we did as a parish, was active, and was easily remembered. The result of that process was Worship, Welcome, Serve, and Encourage. Over the next four weeks I want to reflect on those words.
Worship is defined as “reverent honor and homage paid to God.” And the Catechism states, “In corporate worship, we unite ourselves with others to acknowledge the holiness of God, to hear God's Word, to offer prayer, and to celebrate the sacraments.”
Churches can do a lot of things, but the one thing churches do that no other group does is the intentional worship of God. Scripture is full of accounts of people worshiping God. Worship entails thanksgivings, blessings, deliverance, and a whole host of other reasons. But I think the primary reason for our worship of God is tied to creation. In the beginning, God created . . . and that alone is worthy of worship. One of my favorite references to this comes from the beginning of Canticle 18 in Morning Prayer: “Splendor and honor and kingly power are yours by right, O Lord our God, for you created everything that is, and by your will they were created and have their being.”
The Prayer Book is a reflection of Scripture, and in it we have a bountiful and beautiful resource for the worship of God that spans every time, day, and season of the year. This is a good thing because there are times when we don't feel like worshiping God. Maybe we have just lost a family member or a job. Maybe we're having difficulties in a relationship or with our children. Maybe we're just too busy or too tired. But worship should never be based on how we feel. As we say in the Rite I Eucharistic Prayer: It is very meet, right, and our bounden duty, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto thee, O Lord . . .
Our worship of God is very proper. Our worship of God is right. Our worship of God is our obligatory duty. Our worship of God is formational, in that it forms who we are and who we understand God to be. There's a reason the Israelites prayed/worshiped seven times a day. There's a reason Islam requires prayers/worship at least five times a day. There's a reason Christian monks prayed/worshiped up to eight times a day. Worship is where we connect most with God.
As with any relationship, we need to cultivate times to focus on and connect with the other. Worship allows us to focus on and connect with God. I encourage you to participate in this primary act of our faith as often as possible. Obviously that includes Sunday mornings, but it also includes other times such as Evening Prayer that is held in the church at 5:30 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. It includes the 12:15 Wednesday Eucharist. It also includes morning, noon, and evening prayers you do on your own.
The mission of St. John's is to Worship. I invite you to join us as we are formed by that act.