Wednesday, September 14, 2011

UCC Worship Axioms #2

Here's our second installment. Remember, these are out of order and/or don't create a coherent order. I'm ok with that--I hope you are, too.

UCC Worship Axiom #2

It's not about you.

There are two angles on this, but let's deal with the obvious one first.

The focus of worship is simple. It is a time to attribute value ("worth-ship") to God. In this way, it's not about you. More importantly, it's not about me.

The book of Ephesians is typically viewed as an ecclesiastical letter. It's a note from Paul about what the church is and what is God's aim for the church. This speaks to our worship as well. The key verse is 1:10 where we learn that God's aim is to "bring all things in heaven and on earth under one head, even Christ."

Christ's work (and ours) is designed to bring us to God. All of our efforts, all of our toils, all of our lives are to be in the business of bringing ourselves and others to God. Our worship services must reflect that.

Now for the second angle. Because the focus is God, the focus will never be what we want. The services are not for us. They are designed to bring us (as Christians) and others to God. The "others" are important. They are more important than we are.

Our worship services are designed with two foci:

1) Bring Christians closer to God.

2) Illustrate/teach God to others so that we might bring them closer to God.

Monday, September 12, 2011

UCC Worship Axioms #1

I'm starting a series of posts today. The purpose of these posts is to deliver the "axioms" by which the Contemporary Worship services of University Christian Church operate. These are things under which we will not budge. These are "truths" that I have established that we will continue to uphold at the heart of our ministry. (They're out of order and/or don't create a coherent order. I'm ok with that and I hope you are, too.)

UCC Worship Axiom #1:

God deserves our excellence.

With everything that we offer to God, we strive for it to be excellent. This is the core of worship and it is a priority that is as old as recorded history.

In Genesis 4:3-5 we read about an offering that Cain brings before God and an offering that his brother Abel brings before God. In the first instance, Cain brought "some" of the fruit of his labor. Abel on the other hand brought forth the "fat portions" of his labor.

There are many ways to interpret this. A clear difference in these offerings is that Abel offered his best. He gave that which represented his very finest work. Abel delivered to God that which was the most meaningful and bore the greatest value.

We are compelled to bring that which represents the best of our work--that which clearly shows the value of the offering. With everything we offer to God--art, music, poetry, time, effort, energy, money (and many others)--must carry a value that represents the best we have to offer. The sounds (all our offerings unto God) we make must be as sweet of a sound as the grace offered to us in return.

We will continue to toil so that we may offer to God the full excellence that he deserves.