Wednesday, December 31, 2008

John Stott on Worship

I've started reading a little book by John Stott called The Living Church. From what I've read so far, I would have no hesitation recommending it. Here is a quote I'd like to post regarding the topic of "worship" (from pages 44-46)...

The vocation of the church to offer God spiritual worship is of special importance today. For even in the 'secular' west there is a widespread hunger for 'spirituality'.
The most striking of all recent religious trends is the rise of the New Age movement... In sum, it is a recognition that materialism cannot satisfy the human spirit, and a search for another, transcendent reality. People are seeking it everywhere.
This quest for transcendence is a challenge to us and to the quality of our public worship. Does it offer what people are craving - the element of mystery, the 'sens of the numenous'; in biblical language 'the fear of God', in modern language 'transcendence'? My answer to my own question is 'Not often'. The church is not always conspicuous for the profound reality of its worship. In particular, we who call ourselves 'evangelical' do not know much how to worship. Evangelism is our speciality, not worship. We seem to have little sense of the greatness and glory of Almighty God. We do not bow down before him in awe and wonder. Our tendency is to be cocky, flippant and proud. We take little trouble to prepare our worship services. In consequence, they are sometimes slovenly, mechanical, perfunctory and dull. At other times they are frivolous, to the point of irreverence. No wonder those seeking reality often pass us by!
In brief, it is a great tragedy that many of our contemporaries, who are seeking transcendence, turn to drugs, sex, yoga, cults, mysticism, the New Age and science fiction, instead of to the church, in whose worship services true transcendence should always be experienced, and a close encounter with the living God enjoyed.