Friday, September 4, 2009

Delighting in God Himself

Danny Hyde at "Meet the Puritans: "John Owen on Delighting in Worship":
I have been making my way through John Owen’s 1667 treatise, A Brief Instruction in the Worship of God and Discipline of the Churches of the New Testament....

In one of the more beautiful and practical sections of this treatise, Owen spoke of our delighting in the divine service. ...[W]e read Owen saying that when we gather for the divine service there are four “chief things that we ought to aim at in our observation” .... :
  1. To sanctify the name of God.
  2. To own and avow our professed subjection to Christ.
  3. To build up ourselves in our most holy faith.
  4. To testify and confirm our mutual love. [....]
...[W]hat precisely does it mean to “delight” in worship?

First, Owen says what it does not mean. Our delighting in the service does not mean what he called a “carnal self-pleasing, or satisfaction in the outward modes or manner of the performance of divine worship.” .... In a word, worship is not about you! Further, he was saying this against those in his time who sought for delight in the outward form and beauty of the liturgy itself. Here Owen sought to cut off any idea that worship was for our pleasure, whether in serving our emotions or even serving our eyes, such as in the Mass or the English Prayer Book with its pomp and ceremony in the days of Archbishop Laud’s high church experimentation. So our delighting in the divine service is not about “what we get out of it,” to use an evangelical phrase. ....

Instead of this, Owen said that our delighting in the divine service was rooted in “contemplation on the will, wisdom, grace, and condescension of God.” Our God has drawn near to us! And he has done so, as Owen wrote, “of his own sovereign mere will and grace.” Why? Owen gave five beautiful reasons:
  1. “so to manifest himself unto such poor sinful creatures as we are”
  2. “so to condescend unto our weakness”
  3. “so to communicate himself unto us”
  4. “so to excite and draw forth our souls unto himself”
  5. “and to give us such pledges of his gracious intercourse with us by Jesus Christ”
When we gather for the Divine service (meaning, God’s service to us in Word and sacrament and our service to him in prayer), we are to find our delight in our covenant God himself, not in anything else, whether within us or whether external to us that we have contrived. It is our communion with God that brings us delight and the means of grace serve to bring us closer to him that we might glorify him and delight in him. .... [more]
John Owen on Delighting in Worship | Meet The Puritans

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. I will gladly approve any comment that responds directly and politely to what has been posted.