Why We Should Worship God With Others on Sunday

“[The] word of God is everywhere in worship.

In the call to worship we hear God’s first word to us; in the benediction we hear God’s last word to us; in the Scripture lessons we hear God speaking to our faith-parents; in the sermon we hear that word reexpressed to us; in the hymns, which are all to a greater or lesser extent paraphrases of Scripture, the Word of God makes our prayers articulate.

Every time we worship our minds are informed, our memories refreshed with the judgments of God, we are familiarized with what God says, what he has decided, the ways he is working out our salvation.

There is simply no place where these can be done as well as in worship. If we stay at home by ourselves and read the Bible, we are going to miss a lot, for our reading will be unconsciously conditioned by our culture, limited by our ignorance, distorted by unnoticed prejudices.

In worship we are part of ‘the large congregation’ where all the writers of Scripture address us, where hymn writers use music to express truths that touch us not only in our heads but in our hearts, where the preacher who has just lived through six days of doubt, hurt, faith, and blessing with worshipers speaks the truth of Scripture in the language of the congregation’s present experience.

We want to hear what God says and what he says to us: worship is the place where our attention is centered on these personal and decisive words of God.”

–Eugene H. Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, 2nd Ed. (IVP, 2000), 55.

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