Week of July 24, 2016



Week of July 24, 2016

VLOG : Faith Marks

What is Worship? Vlog Transcript

Hi!  I’m Faith Marks, Director of Music and Young Adult Ministry at FOL… and welcome to the lake!  Jason, Violet and I are out in Indiana this week, visiting my family.  This property was purchased by my Great-Grandfather John Worthman in the late 1940s.  My grandparents lived here, and now my parents do!  I grew up spending my summers here at the lake with my family.


Today I wanted to share with you a little bit about worship, and why I am passionate about it.  When I was in college at Millikin University, one of the courses I was required to take as a music major was a course on ethnomusicology: which basically means “the study of music and culture.”  As our final project for the course, we were required to immerse ourselves in some music culture, and write a paper on it.  I had been singing with worship bands for awhile, so I decided to do my project on the worship band at the Lutheran church where I been attending.


I interviewed team members, the worship leader, and eventually the senior pastor as research for my paper.  The project turned into something really interesting:  instead of more of a musical evaluation (although that certainly was a part of it); it challenged me to deeply dissect the root of the worship band.  It challenged me look at more than just WHAT the band was doing; but WHY they were doing it.  Despite the fact that I had been raised Lutheran, went to Lutheran school from preschool until high school graduation, and had been singing in worship with choirs and bands for years, this was a question I personally had never really spent a lot of time seeking an answer for.


I had asked nearly every person that I interviewed the same question:  what is worship?  But the answer that had the biggest impact on both the direction of my paper, and more importantly, my relationship with Jesus, was the answer from Pastor Wray Offerman, the senior pastor at the church.  When I asked him, “What is worship?” he responded immediately:


“God speaks, and we respond.”

I’ll say that again.

“God speaks, and we respond.”


This definition, so simple and clear, completely changed my perspective of Sunday morning.  It directs everything we do.  We come in to worship because yes, we are commanded to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, but ultimately, to hear God speak.


But note, the importance of the order.  God speaks first!  And THEN the human response.  Worship is about God first.


Everything we do in worship is a reflection of this.  The worship leaders including Pastor, the elders, the choir, band, readers, tech team… they are all there for the same purpose:  to facilitate the worship.  We are there to help bring the Word of God to the gathered community using all sorts of mediums:  words, music, visual artwork… and once the Word of God is presented, we help lead the congregation in response.


And we have been given such freedom in worship!  When you back look through scripture, you see how conversation with the Lord has changed over time.  Think back to Genesis, where Adam walked in the Garden and spoken openly with the Lord.  What a beautiful image of worship!  God speaking, and Adam responding.


But THEN something important happened:  SIN entered the world and hugely impacted our relationship with God.  Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden, since sin now separated God from mankind.  The relationship was permanently altered.


Remember when Moses went up to talk with the Lord on Mount Sinai? When he returned his face was GLOWING from being in the holy and perfect presence of God? The people were afraid of him when he returned!  Not just anyone could approach God’s presence without fearing the potential consequences.  You see, God’s presence is holy and perfect.  And we, sinners, are not.


So God gave the people a new set of laws to help them prepare for entering His holy and perfect presence.  Remember hearing about all the ceremonial cleansing and animal sacrifices of the Old Testament?  This was because a blood atonement was required to pay the price for sin.  Once the temple was built, there were very specific rules about who could enter and how close they could get to the “Holy of Holies,” or innermost court where God’s presence was the most intense.  Only priests were allowed inside, and only on specific days of the year.  And when they entered the Holy of Holies, they often tied a rope around their ankle.  Why?  Just in case they dropped dead in God’s presence, so their body could be pulled out.


BUT… God knew this was not a “permanent” solution.  This kind of separation from mankind was unacceptable to Him, so he sent his Son, Jesus, to be the FINAL blood sacrifice for us.  And what happened, when Jesus died not the cross?  Scripture talks about a curtain tearing in two.  This curtain is the one that divided the temple courts and set the innermost Holy of Holies apart.   When Jesus died, this curtain SPLIT from TOP TO BOTTOM.  God’s presence was now OPEN and AVAILABLE to all, because the price for sin had been paid.  We could now have complete access to God through faith in Jesus!  No more animal sacrifices or ceremonial cleansing was required, because Jesus had completed the requirement for a blood atonement for sin.


Worship changed DRASTICALLY after Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Both Jewish and Gentile Christians worshipped God side by side in homes.  They worshipped outdoors.  They were being persecuted and even worshiped underground if they needed to.  Why?  To hear God speak.  To respond.  We are given such freedom in worship because the death and resurrection of Jesus gave us a new covenant, one that freed us from sin and death through FAITH in Jesus rather than works by humans.  Because mankind could never measure up on our own:  so God did it for us!


Remember that we have been given FREEDOM in worship through Jesus Christ to speak intimately with God once again.  To hear His words, and to respond.  And let it be reflected in the way we view our time in worship on Sunday morning:  to be open to creative ways of communicating with the Lord.  Let it also be reflected in our hearts so that we are open to make better use of our space in order to more effectively communicate the gospel and connect people to Jesus for eternity.  And let’s be thankful for this blessing of freedom in worship!


Faith Marks Sig

Faith Marks

One Response to “Week of July 24, 2016”

  1. Deb Hayward says:

    Amen! Thank you Faith for this wonderful reminder!