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Worship – An Hour on Sunday

The Westminster Catechism, written in 1646 asks the question: “What is the chief end of man?” or to put it in modern terms, “why are we here and what is our purpose in life?”. The answer they suggest is profound. “The chief end of man is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” The point of my life is essentially to worship God. It’s probably not the answer you would get down the high street. But I think it is right. And if the worship of God is my main purpose in life, it can’t be restricted to an hour on Sunday or to songs sung in church. It involves the whole of my life.

So, what is the point of an hour on Sunday? Before the social restrictions of March 2020, every Sunday morning a minority in every town and village would make the journey to church. They would battle the temptation of duvet days, social engagements and the objections of teenage children to gather with others to worship of Jesus. For many, Sunday morning would include an internal battle about showing up at all. A battle that persists even with the lesser demands of online and zoom services (you can join in still wearing your pyjamas!). If worship is about the whole of my life, then does corporate worship matter at all?

Recently I’ve been challenged by the passion of Jesus for what takes place in his house. As he drove out those who were turning it into a shopping mall in John 2, his disciples were reminded of Psalm 69:6 “For zeal for your house consumes me…” If corporate worship mattered to Jesus, then maybe it should matter to me too?

It seemed to matter to Paul who said “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…” (Heb 10:25). In our individualistic culture, maybe we need reminding that meeting together is not just for my benefit, but for the benefit of others.

It matters to me because my own experience mirrors that of John Ortberg’s… “I need to worship because without it I can forget that I have a Big God beside me and I live in fear. I need to worship because without it I can forget his calling and begin to live in a spirit of self-preoccupation. I need to worship because without it I lose a sense of wonder and gratitude and plod through life with blinders on. I need worship because my natural tendency is toward self-reliance and stubborn independence.”

So, while the term ‘worship‘ should never be restricted to just one hour on a Sunday, it should not exclude that hour either. For my sake, for the sake of others in the family of God, and for the sake of Jesus who is worthy of every hour of my life, corporate worship still matters.

“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!” Rev 5:12

worship an hour on sunday
In the beginning