The View From 1776

The Worshipful Spirit

      http://www.thomasbrewton.com/index.php/weblog/the_worshipful_spirit/

Religious worship is more than going through the motions.  Your heart and soul must be engaged.


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Happily our minister Bob Childs was back in the pulpit of the Long Ridge Congregational Church this Sunday to continue his exposition of the Book of Ecclesiastes.

Before getting to the message of the sermon, let me invite everyone to visit us for Sunday morning services at 9:30 and for Bible study sessions on Wednesday evenings at 7:30.? We are in Stamford, Connecticut, on Old Long Ridge Road, about four miles north of the Merritt Parkway, via Exit 34 (Long Ridge Road).? Just follow the signs.? You may wish in the meanwhile to visit our website at http://www.longridge.org/ , where you can download the full sermon.

You will also want to know that we are a Bible-based church, no longer affiliated with the UCC, which has drifted away from Christianity and into moral relativism and rationalization of too many non-Biblical doctrines.

The sermon text was Ecclesiastes 5:1-7, which begins:

“Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.  Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”

The points drawn from these verses by our minister are well nigh impossible to convey to a pure rationalist who has never experienced the reality of spiritual religion.  For that person, who believes that only what is accessible to his own senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, or smell is real, spiritual religion is all mumbo-jumbo; it doesn’t exist in reality.

But even for many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ, there is no reality within their reach.  They have not prepared their hearts and minds for worship of God in reverence and awe.

Our minister described the Old Testament joy and anticipation of Jews, in many thousands, traveling to Jerusalem for the Passover feast and for being in the presence of God on the temple mount.  It is in that spirit that we must prepare our hearts and minds to enter the church sanctuary for Sunday worship.

Only then may we be in the proper relationship with God to hear the whispers in the back of our minds telling us what we ought to do to help others in need.  From my own experience and many conversations with my fellow church members, I can attest that prayerful worship must be as much listening for the voice of God as asking for one’s own desires.

Liberal rationalists will scoff at this and dismiss it as nuts “hearing voices in their heads.”  Christians and religious Jews know the reality, however.  Call it inspiration or intuition, if you prefer, but prayerful experience will teach you to be awake to sudden impulses suggesting the you “ought to do” a certain thing that will solve a problem or help someone else.

Prayerful worship is a life-transforming experience that will bring peace of mind, pull you out of self-centered pursuit of materiality, and bring the ultimate gift of God: true joy and happiness in the blessings you already have.

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