The pattern for worship that God prescribes in the Bible over and over is a pattern of revelation and response. God reveals himself and humans respond, either positively or negatively. In Exodus 3 God revealed himself to Moses in the burning bush and Moses responded with fear, reverence, and eventually obedience. One of the most well-known and referenced patterns of revelation/response is found in Isaiah chapter 6. Isaiah saw the Lord seated on the throne and his first response was fear and confession. Isaiah confessed that he was a man of unclean lips and the Lord cleansed him with the hot coals. God again reveals himself by asking a question, “Who will go for us?” Isaiah responded with, “Here I am, send me.” In the New Testament, God revealed himself to the Wise men first in a star that they followed and then in the incarnate boy Jesus and the Wise men offered gifts and worshiped him in response. God’s ultimate revelation on earth is the incarnate Jesus and every human responds to Christ in either acceptance or rejection.
When we gather on Sunday mornings, God is present and he reveals himself in many different ways. God reveals his character (who he is), his deeds (what he has done, is doing, and will do), and his will for our lives (worship and mission). The faithful believer will be moved to respond in the affirmative. We respond through several modes of worship on Sunday mornings: praise, confession, thanksgiving, offering, petition, intercession, and commitment to name a few. This revelation/response is a dialogue that takes place in the form of God to people, people to God and people to people. When we live in the pattern of revelation/response we move away from a “me-centered” focus on worship. We cannot live the Christian life in our own strength. Our American culture screams at us every day, “Do what you want to do,” “It’s all about you,” “You are in control,” “You can do it on your own,” “You go make something of yourself.” This culture has found its way into worship. When our sole focus in worship is “What can I get out of this,” “I don’t like this or that,” “Meet my needs,” we enter into narcissism. Worship certainly can and should meet our needs, but this cannot be the primary focus. Rather, our needs will be met in worship when we focus on God as the object of worship and as we respond to his revelation. Romans 12:1-2 is our guide in this journey, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers (and sisters), in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” May you be attentive to God’s revelation and moreover respond with “Here I am Lord, send me.” The Lord be with you.