Worship Matters – David Phillips, Interim Executive Director
My most powerful experiences have come to me during times of worship. I’ve worshipped our Risen Lord in various countries on all six continents. I’ve been uniquely privileged to worship the Lord with congregations singing and preaching in various languages. Always people rejoice in God’s goodness.
On one occasion, a group of Bolivians worshipped under a thatched roof in the Bolivian lowlands. The musical rendition on that humid tropical evening brought temporary discomfort. Not only did I not understand their language, but their musical style sounded strange. At the end, all eight men and women ended their worship song in the most agreeable unified harmony. I am still amazed at those eight men and women. I left, thinking, There’s no way I could ever sing like that. Wonderful! My reluctance to worship in my spirit with them was rebuked. They brought their bodies and minds before the Lord. I still think about that evening’s event, 35 years later. Worship is character shaping.
From beginning to end, Scripture leads us to God. We find him through worship. I like to think of Job as one of the first to recognize that our lives are in God’s hands. He dealt with physical pain, spousal disagreement, and social ostracism. What do we remember him declaring? “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 2:21 Worship is transformative.
I sometimes wonder if Abraham learned about Job. We don’t really know how Abram came to learn how to communicate with the Lord. He appears in Scripture with the words, “The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your country…’” Gen 12:1 Abraham’s entire life revolves around his learning to worship and obey God. A high point comes when he is willing to offer his son as a sacrifice. “We will worship and then we will come back to you.” Gen 22:5 Worship is evidence of an inner faith leading to obedience.
Worship matters because we come to God with our entire being. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, 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 . . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Rom 12:1 Worship is holistic.
Latin American Mission (Canada) works in eleven countries through the missionaries, short-term volunteers, and partnership agreements. What holds us together from South to North in this great hemisphere? We worship our risen Lord Jesus Christ. We echo the words of Thomas, whose active mind led him to doubt what he had heard about his master. “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” But Thomas saw Jesus and worshipped, saying, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:25-28 Worship confirms discipleship.
As Latin America Mission completes 101 years of witness and service in Spanish and Portuguese, ministering from Mexico to Chile, it’s important to remember that worship matters! Day after day, week after week, year after year, and decade after decade, - whew! - the entire LAM family has kept united by faith and witness. Many indigenous languages continue to declare, “Jesus is Lord!” what those Bolivians sang! Thankfully, thousands of God’s servants continue serving, often in lonely, difficult locations.
But Praise the Lord! Together, we worship the Risen Lord Jesus Christ. We worship our Lord.