Thursday, May 1, 2014

Who Is the Center of Your Worship?

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
        nor are there any works like yours.
All the nations you have made shall come
        and worship before you, O Lord,
        and shall glorify your name.
For you are great and do wondrous things;
        you alone are God.  (Psa 86:8-10)

The secret of the vitality of the Psalms lies first of all in the sense of worship which animated their poets.  As the derivation of the word indicates, worship is “worth-ship,” namely the acknowledgement made by finite man of God’s infinite worth, and also the aesthetic representation of dramatic expression, by symbolic acts, attitudes, and words, of this recognition.  A service of adoration does not primarily aim at edifying, elevating, purifying, or consecrating the worshipers.  To be sure, it should bring about all these results, but they are only its by-products.  The purpose of worship is to ascribe glory to God.  The psalmists placed God at the center of their existence, not themselves: in other words, their conception of worship was “theocentric” and not “anthropocentric.”  Man was not their main concern, but the service of God was the goal of their life.

Samuel Terrien, The Psalms and Their Meaning for Today

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