Universal Call to Worship
Praise the Lord, all you nations!
Extol him, all you peoples!
For great is his steadfast love towards us,
and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever.
Praise the Lord!
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
Over the past two years numbers in most of our churches on a Sunday have declined enormously, sometimes because people are still nervous about catching covid, or because they have got out of the habit of going to church, or because they have lost their faith. It seems to me, though that there is a bigger problem, and that is the understanding of many Christians as to why they go to church.
Psalm 117, above, reminds us that we are called to praise God. According to one Christian dictionary the word 'worship' means to 'honor or show reverence to God' and in another, it is to 'adore, idolize, to show reverence, and give homage to God'. When we come to a service in Church that is what we're doing. But I've often heard people commenting on something they didn't like in a church service. Today's attitude is that we go to receive something from a church service, whereas in fact we actually go to give worship to God.
We might receive a number of things from our worship of God (forgiveness of sins, fellowship with others, learn more about God etc), but we really go to praise God for all that he has given to us!
we come to You to praise Your name;
we praise You for Your love for us, even as sinners;
we praise You for Your compassion for us and all life;
we praise You for Your forgiveness of those who come to You;
we praise You for Your faithfulness;
we praise You for hearing our prayers;
we praise You for the comfort You give us;
and we praise You for sending Your Son to save us,