Sunday begins with Church. It is a day of worship.
Having served as a Pastor in eight different Churches, I heard a similar comment. “But Pastor, when the sermon conveys nothing to my mind, I don’t feel I have worshipped God. Somehow worship of God rises or falls with the words of the preacher.”
Many years ago I studied at Trinity Theological College. We had a cook who prepared all the meals for us. She is a very devout Christian.
She speaks only Teochew (a Chinese dialect). Although she knew neither English nor Mandarin yet every evening when we have our Vespers, she would be there to worship with us.
I’m very sure that she didn’t understand a single word that transpired during the worship. There was never any translation into Teochew. But without fail she was there to worship God. And she taught me a fundamental truth i.e. Worship is Wordless.
For many when they get nothing from the sermon, they feel they have not worshipped God. Not this Christian lady Cook. For her, worship is not just words. Worship is the pre‑occupation of her heart with the Presence of God.
Her mind may not be gripped by the words of the Preacher but her heart is absorbed with the Presence of God.
It was not long after I graduated from the Seminary. I went on a mission trip to Sarawak. And there were several occasions when we sat in the Long Houses with the Iban people in worship.
I couldn’t understand a single word that transpired. Everything was conducted in Ibanese – the prayers, the songs and the message. Yet I could worship God. It is simply because my heart was pre‑occupied with the Promised Presence of God who inhabit the praises of His people gathered in worship.
I owed it all to this Cook in the Seminary who taught me – Worship is Wordless.
Don’t let your worship today become so utterly cerebral that your mind only wants to be gripped by the words of a preacher but your heart no longer gripped by the Presence of God.
Our Lord Jesus said in Mark 7:6 “These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from Me. They worship Me in vain.”
I’m off to worship God. It doesn’t matter who is preaching. It doesn’t bother me anymore if the sermon is boring. I am there to meet God, not the preacher.
Rev. Sng Chong Hui, my pastor at Bedok Methodist Church has kindly posted his devotional here for today, as I am out of town. His website is at http://goldenapplesilversetting.wordpress.com