O come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
(Psalm 95:1 NRSV)
Psalm 95 is a call to public worship:
‘O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.’ (v.6-7)
Worshiping God is principally an action in community because I do not worship my God, but our God; God is my God only insofar as he is the God of God’s people. Our worship takes place supremely in relationship with one another.
This does not deny the value of private worship; we need time alone with God, praising him, pondering Scripture and examining ourselves. But the assembling together is not an optional extra, something which we can drop in and out of as the fancy takes us.
Our culture often relegates religion to the private, to be practiced in solitude rather than in the public arena. But God is enthroned on the praise of his people
(Psalm 22:3) and so we are to give ourselves to the public praise of God.
How are we to set about this task?
First, worship involves an urgent turning to God; it is a movement in a very definite direction:
‘O come’ (Psalm 95:1). We are invited so
‘Let us come into his presence’ (v.2). We come into worship by making a specific movement away from other distractions and turning into the presence of God himself.
The Hebrew for come here conveys ‘haste’ and ‘urgency’: This coming to God is not a gentle stroll; it has the connotation of speeding to attend to the most serious business.
This is not to say other concerns are of no value. We do not choose between worship and life. But if we don’t move in this direction toward God in worship then the other activities of life will lack coherence.
Second, worship involves a measure of intensity:
‘let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise…let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!’ (v.2,6).
If this reflects the kind of worship which took place in the temple, then it was exuberant, cheerfully noisy and exhilarating.
But this is only one kind of intensity. Worship can also be intense when it is quiet, restrained and formal. Both can engage us in the movement of worship.
The crucial aspect is that worship flows from the deep joy we have in God for who he is and what he has done. He is the one who draws us toward himself in this movement of worship and he is the one who evokes an intensity of worship.
So let’s come, now is the time to worship, our God is waiting.
Father, may we collectively come and intensely worship you with all our heart, mind and soul.
Have a good week worshipping God.