Monday, March 26, 2012

Joyful worship

In theory, I don't see why Christians can't gather to worship at any time on any day of the week.  In certain contexts, where Sunday is a normal working day, it may be necessary to meet regularly on a Saturday.  However, Sunday morning has the advantage that it is resurrection morning, and that sets the tone.  Every Sunday is a little Easter, and therefore every Sunday gathering to worship is a celebration.  A few observations:

1.  It seems appropriate that we have a Sunday Celebration rather than a Sunday Service.  The former reminds us that our primary purpose is to come together to rejoice in what God has done for us in Christ; the latter sounds like we are coming together to do something for God.  In fact, it is our celebrating on Sunday that will empower our service Monday through Saturday.

2.  The appropriate tone of Christian worship is always joy.  Even when the subject matter of the sermon, or the theme of the day, is something dark - perhaps mourning over sin, or the suffering of death - it occurs within the bracket of joy because it happens on Sunday morning.  We live this side of the resurrection, and we know a joy that puts all sadness in its place.  The structure and content of our meetings together should reflect this.

3.  Nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of joy and its expression, least of all a misplaced concern for reverence.  Yes, our approach to God must be in awe and reverence, but too often this is a front under which under which worship is turned into a sombre exercise.  Does our worship encourage and display joy?


  1. Thank you, Daniel. Quite right, if I may say so! There is currently in the Church of England a movement away from privileging Sundays, which I think unfortunate, given it is the Lord's Day. It is called 'Fresh Expressions', which is a brand of cat litter in the US, I gather.

    It is, of course, those of us in the Established Church who have tended to refer to 'celebrations' on Sunday, as a way of speaking about the Eucharist. I am surprised (and pleased) this way of speaking is finding its way into dissenting circles!

    1. The way of speaking may be breaking into free church circles, but it does of course mean something rather different. Certainly it does not have the sacramental focus (although it may well include the Eucharist on any given week, naturally).

      I worry about arbitrary abandonment of Lord's Day worship. It's not the abandonment so much as the arbitrariness that concerns me...