On Worship

I love babies. I think they are one of God’s greatest creations. I smooch on one at least 72 times every day.

I love Mommas. I am one. I have one.

I love our flag and our country. I love the men and women who have served to protect our freedoms. We are headed out the door in a few minutes to attend a parade in honor of the fallen heroes who have given their lives in service to our great land.

I love Daddies and Sunday school teachers and elderly folks and half century or more marriages.

I think all of those groups should be honored and praised and respected.

But when I attend worship services every Sunday morning, I am there to worship and honor and praise a certain risen Savior who died for me when I was yet a sinner, unclean. He, alone, is worthy to be praised.

I am unworthy of His wonderful gift of salvation and I humble myself in His presence.

I do not think it is appropriate to honor and praise any of the above groups I mentioned during a worship assembly. That is why, on Mother’s Day, when the mothers in the crowd were asked to stand to be recognized, I found a reason to bend over and dig in the recesses of my purse for some unknown object.

It feels idolatrous to sing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and applaud standing veterans of World War II, so I keep my hands in my lap and my lips closed.

Please, understand that I mean no disrespect to the veterans or mothers or teachers or babies or anyone else, but I think there is a time and place for honoring them and a worship service is not it.

Does anyone have a different take on this? I would love to know scriptures that would support this practice.

  • Share This:
  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this Post
  • Share on Twitter

Comments

  1. Harmony says:

    Connie, I agree 100%. I love that in our congregation we don’t make a big deal of any of those days during service. We might have a potluck after service at the preacher’s home, or do something together the night before, or make an announcement after church is over – but worship time is for worshiping God, not honoring men.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    Connie,

    I think that were we still a physical nation as in the Old Testament when God guided the warriors, then it would be appropriate. However, since now we don’t “wrestle” with flesh and blood, our memorials ought to be to those who have fought the spiritual battles — chiefly the Christ. That said, I think it appropriate to honor men and women who have earned honor and respect, just not using time set aside for worship to do so. I do not see any contradiction to that in the New Testament, just that it is not a part of the worship of the congregation.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I recently had cause to be concerned at worship because of a simular situation. On Easter Sunday the church where I worship had a group sing at the front of the church. The sermon was short and the major portiion of the singing was done by the “special group”.
    Now I have nothing against being entertained by a gospel singing group. But, not during worship service. When I go to worship service, singing is part of my worship to God. I do not attend worship service to be entertained.

  4. Penny Kendall Photography says:

    Connie …I’ve always felt this way about presenting business and budgets during worship service. If that is a valid concern, then the point you have brought up is valid as well.

    I do believe there is a place to honor servants of God while people of God are gathered … say after worship is completed. The question, I guess, would be where worship begins and ends … and where if any during corporate worship such honor should be shown.

    I don’t think I would categorize the blessing of babies with the honoring of moms/veterans. The purpose of this is to dedicate our babies to God and to the raising of them in the Lord.

    Thank you for sharing your insight … thought provoking.

  5. Dana~Are We There Yet? says:

    Upon reflection, I wonder if it makes much difference what the goal of such recognition is. When I’ve been in churches that recognized veterans or other designated groups it has been an occasion for thanking God for His grace and blessing, for dedicating ourselves to His purpose, for falling on His mercy to protect, defend, uphold. I find myself more aware of God’s greatness and my need for Him, rather than some person’s accomplishment.

    At the moment, I’m not able to call to mind a specific Bible verse that either endorses or prohibits such practice. But there aren’t verses endorsing air conditioning or indoor plumbing in places of worship either, and I really hope God is for those things. :-)

    I heartily agree with your assertion that the purpose of corporate worship is categorically NOT to be entertained, nor to exalt human beings either for their deeds or their stations in life. As a mother, I would not be comfortable standing in the midst of a worship service to receive applause from fellow congregants. I would (and have) stood, head bowed and tears flowing, to be lifted up by my brothers and sisters praying to the God who sustains us all for His blessing and strength.

    Sorry for the long comment, Connie. You got me thinking!

  6. Anonymous says:

    i DON’T PLEDGE TO OUR FLAG. i’M AS PATTRIOTIC AS ANYONE COULD BE, BUT i WILL ONLY PLEDGE MY LOYALTY TO MY LORD!

    LEAH

  7. Smockity Frocks says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, ladies!

  8. Over a year ago, our church grieved the loss of a wife and mother of two young children. At the Sunday worship (she died in a car accident on the previous Fri), we sang one song, but it was obvious that many were grieving the loss. Our pastor came to the front and acknowledged what had occured (for those who might not have known) and then proceeded to direct our attention toward the worship of our savior. I think this is biblical. Job worshipped in the midst of his grief and so did David (at the death of his child). In a culture where everyone is so casual about everything, we need to guard the sacredness of worshipping God. So I think, like one other commenter, that AFTER we have worshipped, then it’s fine to honor those to whom honor is due. But to always be returning the praise to God from whom all blessings (and difficult circumstances) flow. I don’t think we can overlook instances of things that bring glory to God because God designs all things to bring him glory.

  9. Raising Olives says:

    Connie,

    This is an interesting topic and one where our churches today have really fallen short of God’s commands to us as His people. Our church’s view (and our family’s as well) is that since God is God and since He has told us how He demands to be worshiped, then we must honor Him and follow His command, worshiping Him in the manner that He has prescribed for our worship. If you begin to study and really consider this, you will quickly realize that this goes much farther than simply recognizing groups of people in a worship service.

    Our purpose in a worship service is to worship God. He is holy and He has commanded and prescribed how He wants to be worshiped. It is our duty to obey, not to think of ways to make it more enjoyable or entertaining for the participants. The focus must be on the worship of God, not on man’s enjoyment.

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

  10. Very interesting thoughts and discussion. Been mulling it over for a day or two and although I have opinions, I can’t come down decisively on one side of the fence or the other.
    Thanks for the push for something to think about, pray about, and ponder over!

  11. Smockity Frocks says:

    Some additional thoughts bouncing around in my head:

    I don’t think church leaders sit around thinking, “We are a defiant and arrogant people. How can we exalt ourselves above God this week?”

    I do think self centerdness can be subtle and sneak up on us because we are most comfortable when it is all about us.

  12. Ritsumei says:

    Let me first say that I hate Mother's Day (many years of infertility made it very painful), but I do think that, handled properly, many of these holidays could be used to enhance our worship of the Lord & study of the gospel. If, rather than honoring Mothers (or Fathers), we used the time to teach about the importance of being Christlike parents, of the importance of parenting, particularly Mothering, which is something that our culture is attacking and yet is terribly important to our ability to raise our children to be good Christians, then it could be useful. Sadly, I don't think that I've ever seen it done that way. In my opinion, talking about those things, as opposed to "my angel-mother" would be just fine.

    With veterans, I think there could be the same thing. I believe that God made us free, that the Constitution has been established by Him, and that to honor the Constitution is to honor Him. But I am much less comfortable with the usual "yay veterans!" that you mostly see on Memorial/Veterans day.

    These things could be used as teaching opportunities, rather than just a chance to honor some person or groups of people. Teaching, in my mind, is totally appropriate. The other, well, I agree with the group.

  13. Cardamom says:

    I agree 100% and praise God for your post. God requires that we set one day aside in seven to worship him. He has told us in His word how He wants to be worshiped. We are there to hear from Him and to respond to Him in spirit and truth.

    In our family, we apply this by setting this day aside to worship Him. That means that if one of our birthdays falls on a Sunday, we typically celebrate it on Saturday. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day events/wishes are usually also the day before, or are a brief part of Sunday afternoon.

    It is all too easy for churches, in their attempts to “draw” people to attend, to get caught up in recognizing all the different holidays, celebrations, etc. These are not bad things – however, they should not be part of a stated worship service. I’ve known of people who judged how “good” a church was by how involved it was in different events/activities. Not so – we are to choose a church based on its commitment to the solid exposition of the Word, and the application thereof.

  14. My husband would agree with you 100%, and I’m not sure where I stand. We have discussions about it all the time, because it comes up at our church fairly regularly.

  15. I know that I am very late at commenting on this post. I have been thinking a lot about it. I have also been reading my Bible to see if there was an answer. I cannot find where we are told to set aside Sunday for worshiping God. I found several places where it says to worship in Spirit and in Truth but nothing to indicate that we are worshiping sometimes and not other times.
    I also found numerous scriptures about encouragement. There were scriptures telling us to encourage one another and scriptures talking about how someone had encouraged someone else when they met.
    I have never been in a church service where I felt that a person was being placed above God. However, I think it is perfectly appropriate to encourage Mothers, Fathers, Military people, etc. that are part of the "family" and to have a time of thanksgiving to the creator for them.
    I hope I am not stepping on anyone's toes. Overall, I am convinced that God directs our lives and the Holy Spirit will guide our hearts if we seek His will.

    • I completely agree there is a way to honor the gifts God has blessed us with during the service…but in response to finding a verse about setting aside Sunday for worshiping God I wanted to suggest Exodus 20:8-11 where God commands us to “Honor the Sabbath Day and Keep it Holy” our Sunday worship to Him should be about him and about resting…a whole different can of worms our society struggles with!

  16. I see nothing wrong with praising God thru our thanks and gratitude towards blessings/gifts He has given us. Thanking Him for our children or mothers, or veterans who have fought for what He has given us. I think the honor should be given to God who blesses us and maybe not so much as to the individuals that we tend to honor on these days…

  17. **copy and pasted from FB** She isn’t saying not to honor the vets simply saying that church should be used only in the worship of our Lord and Saviour! The 4th of July isn’t about veterans or those serving anyway – of course I was taught the opposite when I was in school – it is our country’s birthday. The 4th of July is not the same as Veteran’s Day (honors the living veterans) and Memorial Day (honoring those who died in service or the vets who have passed on). Do we think that everyone’s birthday should be celebrated in church – no – I didn’t like it when happy birthday was sung in church to attendees or to the Pastor, there is a time and place and church isn’t it. I am torn about saying the Pledge, my DH wants our children to say it, however I believe that we should only pledge our allegiance to the Lord – Scriptural basis for this belief. I come from a long line of vets and they have been traced to the War of 1812 and I’m in no way dishonoring them – and I to am a US Navy Vet and served aboard the USS Kittyhawk. I’m not unpatriotic – I just simply feel that there is a time to encourage honoring those who have served, moms for mother’s day, dads on father’s day, etc. With such a big hoopla about separation of church and state (which is not in the Constitution either) why do our churches want to honor a government who wants to take away our rights by forcing Christian pastors to marry homosexual persons, not allowing them to speak out against the sin of adultery, homosexuality, abortion, etc. My DH thinks I should stand when armed forces are recognized in church services, to me it is embarrassing and not the right place for it. So anyway – it’s not shameful – church is to honor our God and His Son and His gift to us. Yes vets deserve honor, but they don’t deserve worship that alone is reserved for Jesus Christ. There are many other arenas where vets are recognized – church need not be one of them. I’m going to copy and paste this to your blog. I have other thoughts about this but I’ll step down and let the tomatoes commenced to be thrown!

  18. I agree. There is no scriptural basis for mother’s day, father’s day, or birthdays either. Birthdays are mentioned in scripture and both were ungodly people and ended in death of someone righteous.

  19. As a Pastor’s wife myself I feel like I have had more conversations on this topic than I care to admit. My husband is the Associate Pastor at our church and our Senior Pastor goes out of town every year for the 4th of July…this leaves my husband preaching for what this “Patriotic Service”. As the leader of the congregation he does not agree with it. Since being here he has convinced other worship leaders that anything patriotic should be done before the invocation…before our worship to the Lord has officially started.

    I/we completely agree that we live in an amazing country and our veterans and active military should be honored (we include those serving each week in our prayers and send care packages to them overseas and support their families while they are deployed)…however…worship is about Our Lord and our Savior. He struggles each year with the sermon, how to tie it back to what God has to say about our worldy nations, about how this is not our home.

    I honestly would say that if you struggle with these services, kindly let your Pastor know…he could be doing the services b/c it’s what’s “expected” of him. While I don’t think these “holidays” should be ignored, I think if they are acknowledged during the service they should be used as a stepping stone to teach…our God does not remain silent on issues of moms, dads, nations or most other of this holidays honoring people. Thanks for the thoughts and the blog…it’s been nice to think about!

  20. Any of you who ‘know’ me already know that I’m the most American-loving non-American on the planet!… but… I am very uncomfortable with the whole ‘pledge’ business, and *especially* uncomfortable seeing the flag on a pole inside the church sanctuary.
    The US flag makes my heart sing, but worship services are for worshipping our *only* object of worship – our Saviour. Much as your country has been blessed (as ours has been too in the past), take care not to love or honour anything more than Christ. Protestantism’s foundation is evidenced in plain churches with no distraction inside the place of worship.
    Not being a state school user, I guess you’d expect me to be uncomfortable with much of what’s common in schools – pledging allegiance to the flag is one of those things, although I’ve only come to that place recently. I know ‘the flag’ is very different from Hitler in essence, but having children pledge allegiance to *anything* other than God’s Word (and the Word that was made flesh) doesn’t sit easy with me.
    Well done, Connie for writing this – I can’t imagine it was easy, given the strength of feeling in your country for your flag (which, I love to bits too!)
    Anne x

  21. You remind me of a Jehovah’s Witness. They don’t celebrate anything.

    • scwilson says:

      She never said she didn’t celebrate these things. She just doesn’t believe they should be recognized during the worship service. I agree.

  22. “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” (Hebrews 11:13-16)

  23. I couldn’t agree more! Our culture is so deep in the sin of idolatry that its sickening. Iv said it before and Ill say it again ( and I always get ugly looks for it!) but our US military is our golden calf.
    One very enlightening bible study to do is look into what God says about War. I did last year and was very surprised by a few things. The way this country was founded and obviously the current state of things is far from Biblical or godly.
    When we go to assemble we should be there to worship the only one who is worthy, and non other. At our church business meetings and such always take place after service. I wish they handled special acknowledgments like Independence day or Mothers day, etc similarly. And for the above comment from Paulie I would say that is not what Connie or anybody who feels the same as her is doing. We celebrate and have fun, live, laugh , love all to the Glory or God!! But as other have said their is a time and place appropriate and God honoring.

  24. I don’t usually comment on posts, but I felt like I have to comment this time. I’m probably in the minority in my thoughts, but here goes…

    In thinking about whether we as Christians should celebrate Independece Day in church, I couldn’t help but think of the Israelites who God freed from slavery in Egypt. God accomplished their freedom and he commanded that his people remember this event every year on Passover.

    Granted, America is not God’s chosen people and we were not in slavery to the British, but America was founded to give individuals freedom to worship God as they pleased and as such, I don’t feel like it’s out of place at all to give praise to God for the freedoms we enjoy in our country.

    Furthermore, God has freed us from slavery to sin if we believe in him and if you’re not comfortable with a “patriotic” worship service, each one of us can and should worship him for our spiritual freedom!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] My Thoughts on Worship Share and Enjoy: [...]

Leave a Comment

*