As we continue to take a closer look at our worship here at CRBC, we come to the very first thing that is done in every one of our services: the Call to Worship. As was observed in our last post, CRBC’s worship services are consciously structured according to the Dialogical Principle, the idea that worship is fundamentally a dialogue, a conversation, between God and His people. That dialogue of worship is begun by God as He calls us to His worship.
As the first element, the Call to Worship is vitally important, for it sets the tone, so to speak, for the rest of the service. Primarily, it reminds us that our worship is a response to God. This reminder is significant, for it will, if kept in mind, help us to see and perform our worship in a whole new light.
First, this call reminds us that our worship is a response to God’s instruction. Worship is not optional: it is something that God has commanded of us, something that He calls us to do. And it is God who calls us to worship. This is why we at CRBC choose to take our Calls to Worship directly from Scripture, to reinforce in all our minds that we are commanded to worship not just by a pastor and on his authority but by God himself and on His ultimate authority.
Second, this call reminds us that our worship is a response to God’s invitation. We should see God’s call to worship not just as an authoritative command but also as a gracious invitation. We, both as finite creatures and especially as rebellious sinners, do not deserve the awesome privilege of communion with God in worship. We are unworthy even to take His holy name upon our lips and are unable to declare even a fraction of His glory in a worthy manner. And yet, God still graciously invites us into His presence through Christ.
Thirdly, this call reminds us that our worship is a response to God’s initiative. We as sinful humans never could and never would take the first step towards reconciliation with God on our own: God is and God has to be the first to act. He always takes the initiative in His relations with His creatures. It is in recognition of this truth that we at CRBC have chosen to give the Call to Worship the first place in our orders of service. God deserves to have the first word, and we need to remember that our part of the dialogue of worship is always in response to His initiative.
We tend not to think of our worship in this way. We tend to think of our worship primarily as something that we do for God when it is in reality something that we do only in response to what God has already done for us. He has instructed us to worship Him, He has invited us to worship Him, and He has taken the initiative to make our worship possible through His Son. Let’s endeavor, then, to keep these truths in mind the next time we hear God calling us to worship and learn to see our worship as it really is: a response to a Divine summons.
~ Pastor Jason