Acts 17:22–31; 1 Peter 3:13–4:6 (read online ⧉)
Worship. We view this as a core function of what we are to do as Christians. We worship the one true God, who is mysteriously Three-in-One.
In some respects, and more practically, worship is acting in a reverential state toward something greater than the self. If analyzed a bit, one can recognize that worship (as just defined) is not solely the property of religion.
This is important to understand. Often, people who insist on their logic and scientific reasoning worship the concepts. When they do so, when confronted by something that cannot be explained by the logic and scientific reasoning they worship, they will state that they just don’t know enough.
They’re right. They don’t. What they also don’t recognize is that by this exact response, they are showing that they are just as religious as those they often pity or despise.
We all worship something. The oddness of Mars Hill was that everything was worshiped, or at least had a place to be worshiped. One could make the argument that in such a context, all religions were supposedly equal, but the reality was that no one had to make a decision.
As we look around ourselves, we need to be generous toward the religious beliefs of others. Often we only think in terms of self-identified religions (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc.), and neglect those perspectives that proclaim no “worship” and yet worship is just as much a part of their lives as it is of ours. It’s just that they and we need to see it.
As we talk about what we believe with others, context matters. Paul was abrupt, but it was appropriate for the time and place. That isn’t always the case.
Peter notes that while we are to always be ready to defend our hope, at the same time we are called to be gentle and respectful. As we begin to see the layers of worship that we all have, it can become quite jarring to many to realize that they worship anything at all. They believed the didn’t.
On the other hand, some are quite willing to worship something that they perceive has no expectation of them, or has an expectation of them that is in line with their own desires. We are to be gentle and respectful always.
※ Prayer [BCP] ※
Lord Jesus Christ, you stretched out your arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of your saving embrace: So clothe us in your Spirit that we, reaching forth our hands in love, may bring those who do not know you to the knowledge and love of you; for the honor of your Name. Amen.
※ Questions ※
1) What is your understanding of worship? Can unbelievers worship?
2) Is there a difference between winning souls for Jesus and winning friends for Jesus?
3) When talking about “your” defense (1 Peter 3:15), why is it important to understand it is “your” defense and not the defense of others?