Worship's faithful witness.
The book of'Daniel'is an exciting volume in our Bible.
Blatantly misused, hopelessly misunderstood it still teaches us wonderful lessons about our witness and worship.
There are many puzzling features in this book. For instance, the book is supposed to be set during the Jewish exile in Babylon ( 587-536 BC).
However, most scholars agree that its proper dating is about 150-170 BC.
This was a time of radical change and violent conflict within the Jewish nation.
So, the book of Daniel was written to support the nation during these disturbing times. One story about Daniel encouraged the Jewish nation to be loyal and faithful to God.
King Darius had issued an order that everyone should only worship him.
Anyone disobeying that order Daniel knew the order had been signed.
But Daniel went to his house, where he had the windows in his room open towards Jerusalem.
He prayed three times a day giving thanks unto the God of Israel as he had always done.
Daniel prayed to God,"As he always did." In other words, following Daniel's example, the Jewish people in their troubled times were to remain utterly loyal to God.
Our worship is a clear sign of our loyalty to God our Father.
That loyalty is clearly demonstrated by the value we place upon our worship.
When we participate in the Mass or communion, we know that Jesus the risen Christ and the Lord of the Church is sustaining us with food from heaven.
When we pray, either privately at home, or collectively in church or chapel, we are certain of a divine link betwixt our soul and our eternal Father God.
We eagerly seek God's truth in Holy Scripture because we know that God's word is a "Lamp to our feet and a light to our path" (Psalm 119.105).
When we sing, we open our very innermost being, our soul, to the gracious blessing of the Lord.
That is the value of worship Our worship must be defended.There are many dangers putting worship at risk. A frightening majority of the population neither understands nor participates in worship. Worship is no longer a part of their weekly timetable so that the meaning of this devotional exercise is lost.
That is why worshippers must defend this essential part of our faith.
We do this best when we worship regularly. Far too often our church or chapel attendance is dictated by other factors such as the bowling or golf match.
Moreover, Sunday worship no longer holds a monopoly over people's time and attention.
We have to compete against many other interests.
Our worship holds an irresistible attraction for the soul. It is after all our meeting with God through Jesus Jesus often spent many hours alone on the mountain with his Father God.
"O Sabbath rest by Galilee, O calm of hills above.Where Jesus knelt to share WITHTHEE.
The silence of eternity, Interpreted by love." When we worship we unlock the door of the soul and allow Jesus to come in. I finish my every visit with a Bible passage and a prayer. But at the end of the day I open my diary at the list of people and places visited.
Then quietly I remember everyone on that list before God. When we worship we place ourselves in God's hands for our safe keeping.
Jesus once taught a parable. "My way of life is like leaven placed in three measures of meal until it was all leavened" (Matthew 13.33). That parable tells us so much about the active power of worship through our behaviour.
Genuine worshipping people have a different attitude.They see others as God's children.
Most of the time their conversation is informed and filled with moderation and care.
Their behaviour is wholesome and considerate.We will make mistakes and allow our standards to drop. But most of the time we can show Jesus.
Worship in action is the dynamic power of God in the Holy Spirit "The Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.We do not know how to pray as we ought."
But the Spirit himself prays for us with sighs too deep for words (Romans 8.26).