Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Revelation and response

In a Christianity Today article, Gary Parrett offered "9.5 Theses on Worship." This quotation is from his third thesis "Worship involves a rhythm of revelation and response" and seemed to me to get something very important just right:
God initiates the worship experience by graciously revealing something of himself—his character, his mighty deeds, his will for our lives. Our obligation, having received this revelation, is to respond appropriately. The pattern is evident throughout the Scriptures: God, the Lord, is one; therefore, we must love him with all that we have (Deut. 6:4-5). God has demonstrated profound mercies to us; in view of these mercies, we must offer our bodies as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1).

One of the most striking examples of this rhythm of revelation and response is recorded in Isaiah 6:1-8. There, the prophet has an amazing encounter with the living God. First, God's character is revealed: God is high, lifted up, and holy, holy, holy. The prophet's response is exactly right: "Woe to me, I am ruined!" But God graciously reveals more. He is loving and merciful. This is revealed by atoning action and explanatory speech. Isaiah's response, again, is the right one: He humbly receives God's grace and believes God's word. Finally, God's work and will are revealed as the Lord himself asks, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" Isaiah faithfully responds: "Here am I. Send me!"

As we read this account, we are reminded of Romans 12:1—"in view of God's mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices." Indeed, the Isaiah passage provides a wonderful example of a pattern that could, and perhaps should, mark all of our worship gatherings. First, we are reminded of God's awesome and holy character. In light of this, we are moved to humble confession. Next, we are reminded of how God has intervened on behalf of us sinners, by sending his Son to be an atoning sacrifice for us. This good news we humbly receive and believe. Finally, God charges us to be engaged in his ongoing work in this broken and defiant world. We respond by offering our lives afresh for his service. ....
Thanks to In the Clearing for the reference.

9.5 Theses on Worship | Christianity Today

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