A few years ago Hannah and I attended an Easter service at a ‘high’ Anglican church. Incense filled the air, the Bible was held aloft and walked up and down the aisle before being read from… it was a far cry from what we were used to: service leader wearing a hoodie, worship leader singing ‘Jesus is my buddy’, or words to that effect.
Yet both of these very different forms of worship are wonderfully valid, wonderfully rich, wonderfully moving, wonderfully engaging. They are just different.
‘The Friendship and the Fear’, is the name of a worship album from a few years ago by Matt Redman. It explores the concept of these two things that seem so difficult to hold together: that God is almighty, beyond our understanding in glory and power and majesty, such that our spirits cry for mercy in his presence as we ‘fall to the floor as though dead’ (Rev 1:17) before him… yet at the same time He is our loving Father, our closest and most faithful friend, drawing us into deep intimacy with himself.
The diversity of Christian worship throughout the world (and throughout the ages) illustrates that our God is one who can (very validly) be connected with and related to in all sorts of diverse ways – ways that individual worshippers find powerful, helpful, meaningful, and more. The richness of our differing expressions of worship should only be celebrated – it points towards a BIG GOD – and we have so much to learn from one another as we share with each other what we have discovered about Him – and in doing so we give Him great glory.
We have the opportunity this coming Sunday (Jan 19) to join together with other Christians in Blandford whose expressions of Christian worship normally look a little bit different to our own. Please join us for our annual joint service at the Parish Church at 10.30, and let us encourage one another in our shared faith, shared mission, and shared worship.