I’ve been collecting thoughts and ideas from books and notes i have on worship and came across a page that collected lots of quotes from 3 consecutive pages in Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.
“How do we get that framework, that sense of solid structure so that we know where we stand are therefore able to do our work easily and without anxiety? Christians go to worship”
— Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p53
I have put great emphasis on the fact that Christians worship because they want to, not because they are forced to. But I have never said that we worship because we feel like it. Feelings are great liars. If Christians worshiped only when they feel like it, there would be precious little worship. Feelings are important in many areas but completely unreliable in matters of faith. Paul Scherer is laconic: “The Bible wastes very little time on the way we feel.”
We live in what one writer has called the “age of sensation”. We think that if we don’t feel something there can be no authenticity in doing it. But the wisdom of God says something different: that we can act ourselves into a new way of feeling much quicker than we can feel ourselves into a new way of acting. Worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in an act of worship. When we obey the command to praise God in worship, our deep, essential need to be in relationship with God is nurtured.
— Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p54
Every time we worship our minds are informed, our memories refreshed with the judgments of God, we are familiarized with what God says, what He has decided, the ways He is working out our salvation.
There is simply no place where these can be done as well as in worship. If we stay at home by ourselves and read the Bible, we are going to miss a lot, for our reading will be unconsciously conditioned by our culture, limited by our ignorance, distorted by unnoticed prejudices. In worship we are part of “the large congregation” where all the writers of Scripture address us, where hymn writers use music to express truths that touch us not only in our heads but in our hearts, where the preacher who has just lived through six days of doubt, hurt, faith, and blessing with the worshipers speaks the truth of Scripture in the language of the congregation’s present experience. We want to hear what God says and what he says to us: worship is the place where our attention is centered on these personal and decisive words of God.
— Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p55
Worship does not satisfy our hunger for God-it whets our appetite. Our need for God is not taken care of by engaging in worship-it deepens.
— Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p56