“LORD, TEACH US TO WORSHIP!”
Interesting that the disciples of Jesus never asked this. In not making this request, they assumed they could worship on their own, that they had not to learn how to worship. The phrase ‘learning to worship’ sounds strange to us today. If our heart doesn’t overflow and begin to worship by itself, we say, we’ll never ‘learn’ how to worship. But it‘s a dangerous error, very widespread among most Christians, to think that the heart can worship rightly by itself. For then we confuse wishes, hopes, sighs, styles—all of which the heart can do by itself—with true worship. We then confuse earth with heaven, man with God. Worship doesn’t mean simply to pour out one’s heart. It means rather to acknowledge the awesome glory of Christ and to submit to him as Lord, whether the heart is full or empty. No one can do that by oneself. For that he needs Jesus Christ.
When Jesus joins us in his worship of the Father, when we are privileged to worship along with him, when he lets us see the awesome glory of the Father and engages us in his worship, then we are free from vain worship. And that is precisely what Jesus wants for us. He wants to worship with us and have us worship with him, so that we know intuitively that the Father accepts our facedown obeisance to Christ in his vicarious death and resurrection. When our will whole-heartedly enters into Christ’s worship of the Father in the Spirit, he has taught us to worship in spirit and in truth. Lord teach us such worship.
(Liberally adapted from Psalms The Prayer Book of the Bible. Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Minneapolis: Auguburg. 1970.)
John Hubley. Mindheart Foundation, All rights reserved