“Just Worship” is the title of chapter 5 in Just Courage: God’s Great Expedition for the Restless Christian, by IJM founder, president, and CEO Gary Haugen.
Haugen points out that a slight alteration in our directional focus may not be noticeable at first, but will have huge consequences down the road. For example, consider an airplane that is a degree or so off in its directional setting when it takes off. Not much of a difference at first, but before long the plane is very much off course. The same may be said of our Christian witness. It’s helpful to think about this for both ourselves and our churches—are we heading in the right direction? Read the Old Testament, survey Church history. You’ll find this is unfortunately common among the people of God. How are you and I and we doing?
Our worship says so much about what we believe about God. My friend JD has said that worship involves two basic things: faith expression and faith formation. The second of those–faith formation–is important here. There’s no question of if we are being formed in our faith. The question is: how? Perhaps, also: how well?
In the prophetic literature of the OT, the word of the Lord comes to the people, rejecting their faith expression in worship because to accept it would be to affirm the apparently awful faith formation that has taken place so far, a faith formation that has allowed them to be comfortable with offering animal sacrifices as worship to YHWH but not the sacrifices that accompany just living—help for the poor, stewardship of creation, freedom for the oppressed.
Haugen points out, “God is displeased with worship that does not include the ministry of justice.” (p. 69)
How is our worship? What is the directional setting of our worship this Advent season?
PS: JD Walt is posting a series on Worship and Mission. Check out the latest here.