For the season of Lent, I am going to use my newsletter space to give deeper explanations of the different elements of our worship service. Sometimes, we forget why we do certain activities in worship, or we simply don’t know. Today I want to focus on scripture. Scripture is central to worship for one reason: It contains the very revelation of God. It is from scripture we learn the gospel, that God loves us. It is through scripture we experience the grace and mercy of Jesus.
There are several places in worship where we hear scripture, and sometimes, we are unaware that’s what we are hearing. Obviously, when the pastor reads from the Bible and then expounds upon what is read, we know that we are hearing God’s Word. We also use scripture as part of the opening moments in worship. For the Call to Worship we use selections from the psalms, usually three to five verses. The call is almost always responsive, meaning the leader reads a sentence or phrase, then the congregation reads. This may seem like an “old school” or old-fashioned way of doing worship.
However, this kind of format allows us to read and speak the words of scripture. By using two senses, vision and speaking, and allowing our brain to process what we are reading, we reinforce the message of the Call to Worship.
There are other places we hear scripture. In the assurance of pardon, which I will address next week, we always seek assurance from scripture. Many of the anthems sung by the choir are based on scripture. Many of our hymns and songs come right out of the Bible. The sung responses after the offering and assurance of pardon are also from the pages of scripture.
Scripture is so important. As I said, it shows us the very revelation of God. But more than that, it serves as an important tool in our spiritual growth. Writing to his young friend, Timothy, the Apostle Paul says,
“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16).
In other words, we can’t have too much scripture in worship. And if you really want to enhance your own worship experience, be sure to read the Bible regularly. You will be surprised how frequently you hear the Word of God in worship!