What is the litmus test of “Worship”?

Just in a week’s time we have faced here at NCL as a community needs ranging from families in crisis, addiction, to catastrophic loss and health crises.   Throw in new small groups launching, a wedding, and a two baptisms and one can sense the richness, the dark and light of church.  And worship is not detached from those events, those needs.

Emanuel Swedenborg wrote that “essential divine worship in heaven does not consist in going to church regularly .. but in a life of love, thoughtfulness, and faith in keeping with the doctrines.” Formal worship is “worth doing” but essentially sterile if it remains detached from life. (Heaven and Hell, 222)  So life informs church and church informs life.  As such,worship focuses on life as its end, not on faith apart from life.

So what is that litmus test of worship in its expanded form?  What keeps worship connected to life and life connected to worship?

  1. Is it loving?
  2. Is it thoughtful?
  3. Is it in keeping with what God asks of us?
  4. Does it place the incarnation, Christ, the embodiment of God, at the core?

We don’t find that space playing by any of the rules we have played by before.  The rules shift.   Old ways, which served us well, will not get us there.  And the crazy part … expect language to fail more and more as we draw closer and closer to what matters.



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