I was reading earlier a bible study prepared by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (CICW) when I came across a short section on preparation for worship I found helpful. I don’t think it’s terribly common for Western Christians to give much attention to how they prepare for worship, so having a category for it at all is excellent. But thinking of our preparation in three separate stages may help further as we seek to be present with the Lord in Sabbath worship.
1. General Preparation – Read Psalm 15. Ask yourself the questions present in verse 1. There is a general preparation present in living life coram deo, in the presence of God. God is holy, and thus he desires our holiness. This doesn’t mean we have clean up our own act, in our own power, to come to worship the Lord. It means that we must walk in daily repentance.
2. Pre-Sabbath Preparation – The author of the article points out that the Jews believe the Sabbath begins at sundown, not morning. What does the time preceding the Sabbath look like for you? Have you considered the effects of your Saturday night on your Sunday morning preparation? We must not be Pharisees; Christ has set us free. But the time one spends in preparation for a special occasion reflects one’s heart. This is a particularly difficult one for me. I love Saturday night fellowship, but sometimes I love it at the expense of my own present-ness on Sunday morning.
3. Pre-Service Preparation – The period of time between arrival at church and the Call to Worship is critical. Have you thought seriously about this time? Life happens and things aren’t perfect. Sometimes Sunday mornings are frantic, and the Lord is good enough to meet us and fill us with himself despite our deficiencies. However, I would encourage you to reflect on those opening moments. It is easy to get so wrapped up in conversation and busyness that you forget to be present when God himself calls you in to worship. On the other hand, you can come into worship in such somber and quiet self-reflectiveness that you forget that the church is a corporate body, not just you. Both the vertical and horizontal are important, and the moments before worship begins can either help or hinder us.
Now here are the songs and scripture for this coming Lord’s day. I encourage you to prepare, not in your own power, but asking for the Spirit’s help.
Scripture: Ruth 3:1-6
Sermon: “The Bold Ask”
Worship Leader: Jeremy D. Goodwyne
Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder[bandcamp track=3505470677 bgcol=F7F3EE linkcol=4285BB size=venti] listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase
His Love Can Never Fail[bandcamp track=1064820664 bgcol=F7F3EE linkcol=4285BB size=venti] listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase
listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase
Beneath the Cross of Jesus[bandcamp track=699592533 bgcol=F7F3EE linkcol=4285BB size=venti] listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase
Offering: Richly Loved[bandcamp track=215039164 bgcol=F7F3EE linkcol=4285BB size=venti] listen | chords | lyrics/info |
Song of Response: The Sands of Time Are Sinking[bandcamp track=3210385802 bgcol=F7F3EE linkcol=4285BB size=venti] listen | chords | lyrics/info | purchase