Part 1 of 4

What do we expect of TPC members?

Studies have shown that when certain expectations are set, it helps others develop their own group of rules and boundaries. It gives a sense of accountability to others, and creates goals for which to strive. In this series, I’ll discuss what the expectations are that go along with membership in Tuskawilla Presbyterian Church. The first is attending worship.

God calls us to worship.As a pastor, I might be a little biased when it comes to the issue of attending worship. I love worship. I appreciate what it stands for, I enjoy the act of participating in it, and I witness the first-hand reasons for and why we worship. Worship is important.

At the heart of worship is a reverence, love and appreciation for God, the One who made us. But, beneath that is so much more. Here’s what Martin Luther said about Christian worship:

“… that nothing else be done in it than that our dear Lord Himself talk to us through His holy word and that we, in turn, talk to him in prayer and song of praise.”

That is the heart of worship: an intentional listening to God to speak to us through God’s Holy Word (which is why we shape our services to focus on or stem from the Bible). Then we are to turn to God and speak to Him through prayer and songs of praise.

The early teachings also included worship and placed a high priority on that aspect of the Christian life. From that point, other moments of encouragement were added, which included those very sharing of meals and prayers. The early Christians did not have their own dedicated place to worship, but they did not let that stop them from worshiping every day. Yes, every day.

We need to understand that worship is important for all sorts of reasons. Since our inception as human beings, we have been called to worship the One who has given us life; and rightly so. Yet, throughout the years this notion of how worship is done and what we do in it and with it have drastically changed. But at the essence of every worship experience are two stalwarts: God and community.

None of us were born Christians. We had to learn it from somewhere. Somewhere along our journey in life we had to come to know God. Somewhere in life we had to realize that being a part of a community is better for both us and the world in the long run. This community is a sacred place where we can share joys, meals, worship space, common bonds and prayers.

Most important of all, we had to, at some point, wake up and realize that God calls us to worship. God calls us to a place where we can listen attentively to what God is saying to us and also return our thanks, our concerns, our prayers, and invite our own relationship and intentional time with God to flourish and blossom. This will only take place, though, if we come.