Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday Best

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do,
do it all 
for the glory of God.

-- 1 Corinthians 10:31 

Maybe you grew up attending a traditional church. That might have meant getting up early on Sunday mornings, eating breakfast with the family and then rushing to put on your Sunday best--those clothes and shoes you wore only to church and on very special occasions. Then it was time to get in the car, ride to the service and listen to the preacher, choir and organist do their things.

Of course, there's nothing necessarily wrong with that. Millions of people feel closer to God in a traditional church setting--one often characterized by stained glass windows, choirs, sanctuaries and organ music. And wearing one's Sunday best is to them yet another way to set apart the day and glorify God.

Other Christ-followers have a different perspective. They observe that all the formalities of a traditional church service can actually hinder authentic worship. Rather than the traditionalists "being themselves" on Sunday mornings, critics suggest that some are really wearing a special suit of clothes on one particular day of the week while looking and living quite differently on the other six.

Regardless of your worship style preference, there's no doubt that every Christ-follower must avoid the trap of worshipping God with their lips rather than their lifestyle. Yes, an awe-inspiring church sanctuary can be a place of worship and prayer. But so are the workplace, gym and supermarket. What's more, the Bible tells us that worship is what God uses to rebuild and unite His scattered people. So wherever we go each day, our place of worship should follow.

The fact is that we're all hard-wired for worship. Even those who claim to be strict atheists are really active worshippers. True, they may not be regular churchgoers and proclaim Jesus as their Lord and Savior. But they--like everyone--worship something. For some, it's money, luxury and pleasure. For others, it's intellect and higher learning. And still others kneel at the altar of more negative gods such as alcohol, drugs and illicit relationships. It really boils down to the things we worry about or sacrifice our time and money for. What are the issues that make you angry? What brings you the most joy? And then there's this revealing question:

Whose attention and applause do you most crave?

Since we're all worshippers in one way or another, what type of worship does God honor? The Sunday morning variety for Christ-followers generally consists of singing praise songs, teaching God's lessons and sincerely thanking Him for how He blesses our lives through the revelation of His Son, Jesus Christ. But every day and everywhere, we also must worship God in unity by being Jesus' hands, feet and eyes in our community. We should do our 9:00-5:00 jobs as if God were our boss (and in fact, He is!) rather than a human supervisor. And overall, we must look for ways to ease suffering and make the world a better place. Perhaps the Apostle Paul best sums it up through his famous words from the twelfth chapter of Romans:
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship." 

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