OFFER TO GOD ACCEPTABLE WORSHIP, WITH REVERENCE AND AWE
Coming from a strict traditional Catholic background, I was raised to worship God with a high level of reverence and formality.
My first encounter with less formal worship is when I was invited to a Charismatic Renewal group at 16 years of age, two years after my conversion to Lord Jesus. Then my surprised grew even more when I started visiting protestant Pentecostal churches after I became Anglican at 18 years of age. And it had to pass two more years, when finally at 20 years of age, I assisted to the First Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia, in 1989.
Throughout my life and in my search for the fullness of the truth, which I finally found in the Bible alone and Evangelicalism, I can say I have experienced deeply and first hand all forms of Roman Catholicism, even doing a Master of Theological Studies at the Diocesan Catholic College of Melbourne, Australia.
I deeply and from inside studied Mormonism, Jehova’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, Russian Orthodoxy, Coptic Orthodoxy, Assyrian Orthodoxy, Armenian Orthodoxy, Greek Orthodoxy, for which I still feel a deep love, I don’t know why; Anglicanism, Church to which I belonged since I was 18 years of age until two years ago. Lutheranism, Pentecostalism in all its forms, Trinitarian and not Trinitarian; Methodism, Reformed Churches, Closed and Open Brethren, Christian Science, among other minor sects.
In all that long pilgrimage, under which always adored the same Jesus I got to know and appeared to me during my young years, I have experienced spectacular services, highly sophisticated like Russian Orthodox Liturgies, passing through High Latin Masses, through the tables of the Neocatechumenal, to the loud services of the Free Pentecostals, and also through the boring and dead Mormon, and Watchtower services. Each group trying the best they know, to worship the deity they intent to worship. But in all of them one thing is noticed, respect.
From the three hours standing on your feet of the Russians, to the kneeling down of the Latins, to the sitting of the Charismatics; everything was done, regardless of the bodily position, with the upmost respect for their deity.
From the screaming of the Pentecostals, to the sleepy talk of the Mormons who can put the most ignorant person to give an unprepared ‘talk’; whether crazily loud or deadly silent, all of them were done with reverence, either by praising Jesus at the top of the voice, or the silent reflection of the Mormon, or the silent reading of the Jehova’ Witness.
By the time I entered Ridley College in 2014, the first Anglican Bible College where I studied the Bachelor of Theology for 4 years, I was used to all forms of worship, but my own personal choice was centred somewhere in between Low Anglicanism and Catholic Charismatic worship. I was loud enough for a traditional protestant, but too traditional for newer groups like Planet Shakers, Free Pentecostals, United Pentecostals or Hillsong followers.
Something happened between 2018 and 2019. I went to the Catholic Theological Seminary to ‘learn’ about Mariology, Iconography and Sacraments, totally convinced that I will discover things that certainly were hidden from me at the Anglican College I had studied before. The result was totally different. All the ideas I had were smashed by Vatican and German Theologians who spoke from Tradition, and diminished the Bible to a collection of books of mere human origin. To cut things shorts, after meditating this for the first semester, one night, I felt strength entering my body and soul, and I took the firm decision to leave aside all what was not in Scripture. Since then, something miraculous happened. My understanding opened up, and one by one started dropping my ‘dead religiosity’ based on traditions, and human creations, and I was left after three months with only the Truth of Scripture. I have never fell so liberated since I believed in Lord Jesus for the first time at 14 years of age. And I lamented all the time I lost putting aside good things just because they did not fit my wrong ideas of correctness.
WHY I SAY ALL OF THIS
Having been liberated by the Spirit of God from all traditional forms and religiosity, I became open to all types of musical styles in Church worship, but at the same time, even trying hard to understand the point of view of others, I could not help to noticed that the idea of respect and reverence had been lost along the way in modern evangelical worship.
Driven by fear of falling into traditionalism, new groups of youths have been let free and even encouraged to experiment with all kinds of music styles and sounds that have long ago over pass the proper limits to be called worship.
This is not mental condition on anyone’s part, but pure sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, from Whom these new people know little.
The author of the epistle to the Hebrews, states in 12:28:
“Offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe”
It may not seem to our simple minds, but God is infinitely perfect and powerful. Not only humans, but also angels and animals are not able to see Him, due to his eternal majesty, It’s simply impossible to see something that is bigger than us, let alone infinitely bigger and holy.
The only way we can catch a glimpse of God, is through the image of his Son, JESUS CHRIST, and being covered by his mercy. In his humanity, God JESUS reduces the perception of the eternal divinity to the limitations of human flesh, so that we can relate to Him in a manner that will not blow up our minds.
But in all our dealings with Him, all we need to exercise is always, the upmost respect and behaviour consonant with his holiness and majesty.
This has many implications, like to abstain from using the persona or Name of God in jokes, or to portrait Him in cartoons and other forms of modern worldly art.
JESUS put the eternal and invisible divinity to the reach of humanity. Now it is possible to speak to Him, and appreciate his opinions and morals in a very tangible way. BUT also, JESUS, even being human, He never disrespected anyone, neither allowed Himself to be disrespected by no one,
We seem to have confused love and intimacy with disrespect.
God incarnated to make possible for humans to understand Him better and develop a personal relationship with Him. GOD became someone that humans could see and touch, like any other human; but not to be disrespected, since this is impossible by divine nature. The Eternal Divinity, by automatic reflection of his own nature, claims respect and submission, even during the closest moments with any creature, from any creature.
But our worship to God has become abhorrent to God.
Women coming to Church with little clothes, exposing erogenous areas of their bodies to men in the congregation, and men doing similar things in front of women, contaminating with immorality the Church of God.
‘Worship’ music, that seems more a dead metal concert than an act of adoration, where flashing lights, prevailing darkness, and screaming singers yelling with cavernous voices, resembling more the sound of condemned souls than worshipping saints.
Worship concerts where people dance and elevate hands in frenzy, totally immersed into their carnality and not into the Spirit of God.
IT IS TIME TO REFLECT
There are many things that have infiltrated the Church of Christ on Earth, and it is time we realize it, accept it, and reform it.
From female Pastors, to homosexual Church marriages, passing through irreverent Holy Suppers to immoral worship musicals, the devil has put his fingers into every corner of our Church.
As it says in John 4:24, the ONLY way to worship GOD, is in SPIRIT AND TRUTH, meaning, following the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in a doctrinal correct manner. BUT ALSO, as it says in Hebrews 12:28; we must do it in Reverence and Awe; meaning in submission before our Creator, and grateful admiration towards Him.
Reverence is described in the Dictionary as:
“A feeling of respect or admiration for someone or something”
And that is exactly what the Bible claims for God, to worship Him with respect and admiration, and our worship will be acceptable to God.
Respect means to dress modestly at all times.
To celebrate the Sacraments with deep respect and understanding.
To sing praises according to the order and equanimity of the Holy Spirit and not according to our human passions, guided by sensuality and not piety.
God is infinitely multifaceted, and certainly there will be more than a way to worship Him, in music, sacramental functions and dress codes. There is not a single model to follow, but there are certain principles: modesty, knowledge and devotion.
Modesty, when presenting ourselves to the world before Him.
Knowledge, to perform adoration and study according to his true will and not in ignorance.
Devotion that indicates our love for Him, under whose influence we serve Him, and not just out of duty.
Like the long pilgrimage of my life in search of God; the Christian Church needs to search better ways to worship our Creator and beloved Saviour.
Our dress style, the way we handle the sacraments and preaching, and the way we play music in worship; needs to be guided by the Holy Spirit, and done in full theological knowledge of what we are doing, and not just moved by carnal desire, or worldly concepts, or irrational passions. ‘Worship’ without these principles, are not acceptable to God, neither are born from the Spirit, but from Satan, who intents to laugh in our God’s face.
We are the guardians of the Treasure of the Gospel (1Timothy 3:20), and we need to reform the mistakes we have fallen into, and that way, give the honour and reasonable worship to our LORD GOD ELOHIM, the whole of the Trinity, in the only way that is proper, in SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.
“Let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe”