Worship: Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10 – Alison Bygrave
When Andy spoke on 10 May about the beginnings of Christian worship, he talked about an aspect of it which had never occurred to me before. In those early gatherings of new believers, how did they know how to worship. Those with a Jewish heritage knew how to have a service in the synagogue; the gentiles came from very different backgrounds with totally different ways of honouring their gods. How could they find a form of worship which satisfied all of them?
Jesus gave them something new, the central focus of any worship to come, a simple ceremony which united them. He took the bread and wine and asked them to join together in remembering him. None of these diverse people had ever done this before; it was his special directive to his church, the foundation of their new church family life together. Those participating at the last supper were all Jews but they now had something to share with all and any who came to love and follow Jesus.
And for us, it still unites us. All the trappings of traditional worship can be divisive. None of the denominations can really claim to have got it right. The core of our worship of God is the same, the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, commemorated in bread and wine, a meal which all Christians everywhere participate in.
The other thing that unites us in worship is the presence of God. We need to take time to prepare ourselves to be in his presence, to put away all distractions, to turn off our phones, to set our minds to pay attention to God. When we come to worship it is not just the coming into the building or the singing, it is the preparation of our hearts and minds for being in the presence of God. It is coming with the expectancy that God will be there and he will touch us with that shiver in the back of the neck that attests to the fact that he has been there with us. When we are able to return to church to meet together, remember to be still and know that God is there, prepare your hearts and pay attention to what God is saying.
In the Living Bible, Psalm 46:10 says ‘Stand Silent! Know that I am God. I will be honoured by every nation in the world.’