Richard Mark Lee

Liturgy- Worship as Reverence

“At the end of the day, worship is either God-centered or it’s human-centered theatrics and mechanics.”

What is reverence?

Is it the quiet Sunday morning reflections of a believer surrounded by stained glass and sounds of aged and familiar songs? Perhaps it’s found in the outstretched arms of a young man or woman in a camp setting, worshipping demonstratively amidst bass pounding music? Or maybe reverence is seen in the eyes of a missionary teaching scripture to a room full of wide-eyed students?

Truth is, the idea of ‘reverence’ elicits a wide gamut of opinions and emotions among a wide range of people. Too often these opinions and emotions evolve into closely guarded boxes in which we define what is and isn’t “reverent.”  So how do we understand 'reverence' from a biblical perspective?

Firstly, when looking at reverence as it pertains to public worship, it’s important to note that scripture never mentions ‘reverence’ as a primary point of corporate worship. Because worship is what we do in our hearts and with our lives, reverence, then, is about bringing the right attitude and heart as we enter the temple gates and courts to worship.

In Psalm 131, a clear depiction of humble, reverent worship is given by the Psalmist culminating in verse two: “I have stilled and quieted my soul.”

This leads to an important question that we must all grapple with: Is the ambient noise level of my life low enough for me to hear the whispers of God?

The truth is that many of us suffer from activity overload. Cell-phones, social media, television, radio all vie for our attention resulting in a cacophony of internal and external noise. For others, it’s busyness due to misplaced priorities that keep them from hearing the whispers of God.

For those willing to sift through the noise and hungry to hear the voice of God, Pastor Richard offers three insights to hearing the whispers of the Savior:

#1. God’s voice is not a feeling. Feelings and emotion are powerful tools for helping us experience the presence of God but are unreliable for discerning God’s voice.

#2. God’s voice is not a formula. The problem with formulas is that they often contradict each other. Many times, they are built and based upon our own subjective experiences. People say all the time “I’ve messed up…God can’t use me.” What they are essentially saying is “I’ve missed an ingredient in the formula and it can never be right.” You don’t have to search far in the Bible to realize that God loves to break apart man-made formulas.

#3. God’s voice is found in a relationship. Have you ever received a call and a voice on the other end says “hey, it’s me.” They expect you to know their voice and you do…because of the relationship and time that you’ve spent together.

Simply put, God’s voice is found in relationship; however, we have to lower the ambient noise in our lives if we want to hear his still, small voice.

Reverence, therefore, is a thermometer of our relationship with God…it’s an understanding of who God is and being able to sit still in the quietness of our soul and know his voice.

Can you hear the master’s voice?