Worship is often used to mean what Christians do when they meet together for “religious activities!” Which is only part of the story because all our lives are to offered in worship to God, what happens on Sunday isn’t to be separated from the rest of our lives…but back to Sundays…
Worship is the people of God, the church, sharing in Christ’s relationship with the Father, through the Holy Spirit, gathering to be built up through reading the Bible, sermons, prayer and praise. We continue in the life of God as we are nourished by Christ’s body and blood in Holy Communion, we know that we are forgiven by God when we confess our sins and in our intercessions we ask God to transform the lives of others when we pray for them.
We are changed by such an experience. From this experience the people of God are sent out into the world to make God known to others.
In some instances worship is profoundly life changing. For couples getting married, their families and friends, the marriage service is a great occasion, being both joyful and celebratory, and yet also profoundly life-changing. Of course there are documents to show that an important event has taken place, for example, the registers are signed by the couple and duly witnessed, and a wedding certificate is issued which aids the transformation form “Miss”, or “Ms”, to “Mrs”.
But a marriage is about more than bits of paper. The transformation is deeper that it might appear; in the marriage service we talk about husband and wife “becoming one flesh” and so through the liturgy of the service, and the responses of the bride and groom, a new bond is created between two people, a bond that is intimate, special and deeply mysterious.
It’s not just weddings that are transforming experiences. The baptism service brings people into God’s church; the waters of baptism represent a moment of birth into God’s family. The new life in God, enjoyed by the baptised, is an amazing transformation. Likewise, at a funeral we give thanks to God for life and relationships, we say farewell to the person who has died, and ask God to care for them eternally. As those who have died begin a new journey, so we too begin a journey, with God’s strength, of living life without some one dear.