The Worship Quote of the Week for (07/11/2000):

Meaningful Worship, Meaningful Response
Today's WORSHIP QUOTE (a little longer than usual) is a paragraph from the
introduction to a wonderful book by James B. Torrance. I had to read this
section several times.

Christian worship is our participation through the Spirit in the Son's
communion with the Father, in his vicarious life of worship and intercession.
It is our response to our Father for all that he has done for us in Christ.
It is our self-offering in body, mind and spirit, in response to the one true
offering made for us in Christ, our response of gratitude (eucharistia) to
God's grace (charis), our sharing by grace in the heavenly intercession of
Christ. Therefore, anything we say about worship - the forms of worship, its
practice and procedure - must be said in the light of him to whom it is a
response. It must be said in the light of the gospel of grace. We must ask
ourselves whether our forms of worship convey the gospel. Are they an
appropriate response to the gospel? Do they help people to apprehend the
worship and ministry of Christ as he draws us by the Spirit into a life of
shared communion, or do they hinder? Do they make the real presence of Christ
transparent in worship, or do they obscure it? To answer these questions, we
have to look at the meaning, the content of worship, before we can decide
whether our traditions and procedures are adequate. More profoundly, we have
to consider our doctrine of God in worship. Is he the triune God of grace who
has created us and redeemed us to participate freely in his live of communion
and in his concerns for the world or is he the contract-God who has to be
conditioned into being gracious by what WE do - by our religion? If our
worship is to be intelligent, meaningful worship, offered joyfully in the
freedom of the Spirit, we must look at the realities which inspire us and
demand from us an intelligent, meaningful response. So the apostle says in
Romans 12:1 - after expounding the gospel of grace in the first eleven
chapters - "With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers
(and sisters), as an act of intelligent worship (logike latreia), to give him
your bodies as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him"
(J. B. Phillips).

Introduction "The Place of Jesus Christ in Worship," InterVarstiy Press, pp.
15-16. Dr. Torrance is professor emeritus of systematic theology at the
University of Aberdeen, Scotland. This book comes out of the Didsbury
Lectures, given at the Nazarene Theological College, Manchester, England, in
November 1994.

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Pastor of Worship and Music
Chapel Hill Bible Church
Chapel Hill, North Carolina