Letter from the Minister.
Rev Phil Summers
Holy Habits - Worship
Worship is a Holy Habit. It is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Worship begins with God, is enacted with God and is for the glory of God. Worship is indeed Holy. But is it habitual? Well certainly many of us wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves each Sunday morning if we didn’t gather for worship. Even if you enjoy the odd Sunday off, or you only attend a church every six weeks or so, not worshipping at all would seem strange. Indeed, there are some who have lost the habit of gathering for worship. Only they know if they truly miss it or not. Or is it simply the gathering that they are staying away from? They have forgotten the holy habit of Fellowship but in their own way, on a walk, through music or stillness and meditation they are still in the habit of worshipping.
We Christians cannot separate out the act of worship from the other holy habits: Fellowship, Gladness and Generosity, Biblical Teaching, Breaking Bread, Sharing Resources, Prayer, Serving, Eating Together and Making More Disciples. For in each of them there is an aspect of worship. God is revealed in all these Holy Habits and through each of them we can find the opportunity to worship. The question isn’t really one of, ‘do you make a habit of going to church worship?’ but rather, ‘is worshipping God through Jesus Christ something you do habitually?’. How is your life so infused with your faith that every moment is girded in praise and worship? The Psalmists show us that this praise of God is not restricted to the good times either. In our frustrations and fears there is room for the worship of God. For God is. Christ has told us we are never abandoned and the Holy Spirit witnesses to that fact. So even in the deepest despair we can acknowledge God’s presence and offer our worship. That Worship may consist of whys and wherefores, tears of anger and despair, but even then we are inspired to worship and our Father is glad to receive all we have to offer.
So, two questions. How habitual are you in your worship of God? And how much do you take up the opportunities on offer to meet in the fellowship of worship with your brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you worship; heart, mind and soul, as you walk down the street, chat to a neighbour, watch the football or the dancing? Each moment, each breath, each encounter is lived in the presence of God. Maybe worship, at its basic level, is a simple acknowledgement of that. Like greeting a neighbour that you pass each day with a nod. Give God a nod in every situation.
For the second question I’m going to include all three of the churches I have pastoral charge of. Do you expand your understanding of worship by gathering in different ways? Sunday morning? Yes. How about 9am Communion? Dryleaze evening? ‘Aspects of…’ days? Café church? Creative quiet days? Midday prayer? Big Sing? There could be more, maybe there should be more, but how many do you engage with? Is the formal worship of God something that expands beyond Sunday morning?
Then of course, and maybe most importantly, there is our daily habit of worship. I’m sure this will be echoed in the Holy Habit of Prayer. What works for you? When, where, how often do you find a dedicated time to offer praise and worship? It can be a minute, or it can be a morning. It can be a night prayer before sleep or a mealtime thanksgiving. How habitual are we about our worship – individually and with others? It is an holy thing that is at the core of our created being; well worth forming a habit about.
A happy, worship full, New Year to you all.