Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Why We Worship the Way we Do: Part One

“I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’ (Psalm 122:1)

Everything we do in Church has a purpose. How one acts and what one does in Church says a great deal about what one believes and practices. Whenever we hear the National Anthem, men take off their hats and everyone places their hand over their heart. It is a sign of respect, a tradition that honors what it means to be a citizen of the United States of America. Likewise, what we do in Church honors Christ and our gestures, words, and actions convey our honor and respect to God. Over the next several weeks we will highlight aspects of our worship service to help explain what we do, why we do it and what it teaches.

We are in God’s house, not our own and many believe that we have a right to worship God however we choose to worship God. You may have the right to buy your wife a power tool for Valentine’s Day, but will your wife appreciate it as much as if you bought her roses? In the same manner, worship at FCC refocuses us in ways that some may not see as important. Worship is not an event for our entertainment or from which we are to GET something. It is an event to which we come to give of ourselves. Our worship seeks to refocus our lives away from serving ourselves to serving God.

When one enters FCC, one enters the Narthex. The large gathering area was anciently a small closet where worshipers might offer prayers of confession before going into worship, recalling the words of Christ in Matthew 6:6. Over the years, it has become a gathering area to meet and greet one another and prepare for worship. We call this room the Sanctuary, but in the early church it was called the “Nave,” from the Roman word “navis” meaning, “ship.” We get our word “Navy” from the same root. The early church often identified itself as a ship under sail. It is an ancient symbol used by the early Christians to designate a place to gather for worship. The Church is portrayed in sacred art as a ship moving heavenward with its pews seen as ancient galley benches where all the members are thought to be pulling together.

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