The Wonder of Worship

by Robert E. Coleman

From Songs of Heaven by Robert E. Coleman. Used by permission.

It is beautiful to contemplate the nature of deity and to bask in His glory. This is really what worship is -- the adoring response of the creature to the infinite majesty of God.

While it presupposes submission to Him, worship, in its highest sense, is not supplication for needs, or even thanksgiving for blessings, but "the occupation of the soul with God Himself." Whatever the means -- preaching and hearing of the Word, celebration of the sacraments, singing of hymns, offering of prayers, quiet meditation -- the end of it all is the pure joy of magnifying the One who alone is worthy.

Such devotion should become a perpetual attitude of the heart, permeating every thought, so that all of life throbs with a sense of the numinous. The hymnist voiced it well, when he wrote:

Lord, arm me with Thy Spirit's might,
Since I am called by Thy great name,
In Thee my wand'ring thoughts unite,
Of all my works be Thou the aim;
Thy love attend me all my days,
And my sole business by Thy praise.

In experiencing true worship, however, we can never lose sight of the Lamb who was slain. The manifestation of God in this expression of His grace is the supreme revelation of the redeeming Word, whereby--through the Spirit--we are brought near to the throne. To see Him on the cross is to know that God loves us and has borne our sins away.

The story is told of a traveler who looked for unusual things in the cities he visited. During a tour of a town one day, he was attracted by a remarkable spire over a public building. Turning to see it better, he noticed, about two-thirds of the way up, a stone figure of a lamb on the wall.

The man stopped a passerby to ask if there was some significance to the lamb's stone replica. Told that it marked the place from which a workman lost his balance and fell while the building was under construction. The traveler inquired. "Was he killed?" "No," said the local resident. "It was a miracle. When his friends hurried down, expecting to find the mangled body on the pavement, there he was, shaken and badly bruised, but with hardly a bone broken. It happened that several lambs were on their way to slaughter, and as the mason fell, he landed on the back of one of them. The lamb was killed, of course, but his soft body broke the mason's fall and saved his life. The builder was so impressed with the miracle that he had the stone lamb place there as a lasting tribute."

We can surmise the traveler's reaction to such a story. But what must have been in the mind of the mason whose life was spared?

How much more must be the feelings of gratitude in the hearts of those who actually are redeemed by the Lamb's sacrifice, not as an accident of fate, but by the deliberate offering of Himself for the world.

No angel tongues can e'er express
the unutterable happiness;
Nor human hearts can e'er conceive
the blessing wherein through Christ ye live
But all your heaven, ye glorious powers.
And all your God, is doubly ours!
Charles Wesley

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