Worship Heart-Fully

2 Kings 23:4–20, Ezekiel 42:13‭-‬14

King Josiah had a mess to clean up. Over the years, his kingly predecessors and the priestly predecessors had put a lot of stuff that didn’t belong in the . A lot of it was worship pieces for worshipping gods instead of worshipping God.

If you really want to be overwhelmed, number the items, and then realize that the list was summarized (e.g., all the high places from Geba to Beer-sheba). It is not an exhaustive list! There was more that didn’t get listed! How far the people had fallen!

King Josiah went so far as to desecrate graves so as to totally desecrate all the high places dedicated to other gods. Yet, the underlying story is how the religious leaders had added thing after thing to the , and the things they added had nothing to do with worshipping God. All the additions were to worship anything other than God.

It might seem odd to go from this cleang to a simple statement about proper priestly behavior in the post-exile (our passage in Ezekiel). However, there is something that needs to be addressed. Often, in our zeal (much of this ed by Puritan thinking) to have a “pure” , we “cleanse” things because of their association with what we think is contaminated worship.

Take the clothing of the priests mentioned in Ezekiel. The priests are supposed to wear special clothes that are only to be used during their priestly duties in the . If you didn’t catch this, in modern terms, that is seen in Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, some Anglican/Episcopal, some Lutheran, and some Presbyterian es. The priests/pastors in these s will often wear special clothes that are only worn in the . They don’t, for example, wear them to the supermarket.

Yet, we American “Evangelicals” have ed a Puritan thought process that opposes such clothing, because the Roman Catholics and Anglicans (the Puritan primary oppoion) wore them.

We have two oppoe mindsets presented here, which is something we as Christians and as a need to think through, not just accept everybody else’s thoughts. “Right” worship has been a long-term issue in the , from to extemporaneous prayer, no music to A Capella to hymns to contemporary music. It is good and reasonable to ponder what “right” worship looks like. We just have to be careful that we don’t throw out (or bring in) good and/or biblical just because. And we have to be careful not to condemn prices that do just because.

1) Where do you think you see non-God ing prices entering worship? What makes it not God-ing? Is your stance Biblical (find it) or is it cultural?

2) Where do think more God-ing prices could be introduced? Why do you think they are not being done? How do they build up the body of believers?

3) Will adding prescribed and described prices in the Bible necessarily help worship? How do you balance so-ed Biblical prices with cultural prices? Are you able to perceive the difference?

Pastor Ian

By Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.