Focal Passage: 1 Timothy 2:1-15
Recently my plumber initiated a conversation with me about church life. He addressed the issue of generational worship, and I shared some observations. While the term “worship wars” is probably much overused, it describes the reality that the senior adult crowd and the 20-somethings (as well as other age-groups) probably have different expectations and desires for “worship.” Because of this reality, we’re seeing more and more churches employing multiple worship services scripted by markedly different styles, each seeking to reach a particular niche. It’s a reality of the 21st century. The great danger is putting style over substance. If our worship becomes “us-focused,” can we really say we’ve worshipped?
In this passage, we see the person of our worship: God, and Jesus His Son, the mediator between humanity and heaven. We also see God’s purpose in worship; our experiencing salvation through knowing The Truth and all that is true in God. A third facet of pleasing worship is praying in total surrender. Surrender of our will in favor of God’s is symbolized by our uplifted hands.
In his day Paul and his ministry team also dealt with the issues of culture and style. The Gentile pagan culture of the Roman world was filled with cultic prostitution, institutional slavery, and an “anything goes” mentality. Therefore, Paul wanted females to dress modestly and men to live righteously. Exterior attitudes, appearance and behavior matter.
Yet, Paul wanted his worship leaders to know that real change comes from the inside out. Radical transformation emanates from a relationship “in” Christ, a phrase Paul used more than 200 times. While clever marketing and production can aid our worship, authentic Christian faith and worship always places substance over style, and can best be described as what happens when we humble ourselves before the “worth-ship” of God.