The following is a lovely post by great friend and HopeGiver Ryan Flanigan, who runs, along with other great pal Sean Carter, the ReformWorship Blog.
I agree with everything in Ryan’s post, but bring my caviot in the comment section. I’m always concerned that we avoid Willard’s suggestion, in our great and important emphasis on the mediation of Christ in worship, that the contemporary Church has often pushed God up into His heavens, and distanced Him from our participation in this Divine/human story.
How Worshiping God Is Possible
I couldn’t be happier with Worship Leader Magazine than I am right now. The lead article this month is “The Mediation of Christ in Worship.” This is the single most important truth for worship leaders and all Christians to understand and practice if we want to see contemporary worship reformed and redeemed back to where it should be. The topic at hand is the reason we started this blog two years ago. Seriously, if you’re like me you usually gloss over the shiny, nonsensical, worship talk that often fills magazines such as these, but I encourage you, as I have been greatly encouraged by WL Mag lately, READ THIS ARTICLE! (click widget below). Go through it with your worship teams. Stretch yourselves theologically and wrestle with it. This is not too deep for common people to understand.
I am convinced that not only do we need to understand the mediation of Christ “behind the scenes,” so to speak, but it must be front and center in our re-presentations of the Gospel every time we gather for worship: in our preaching, in our song lyrics, in our praise and worship moments, always! We cannot assume worshipers know it, and therefore we do not need to verbalize it. The New Testament writers certainly didn’t pass up the opportunity to mention the mediation of Christ. In fact, you’ll find this great doctrine in the hymns recorded in the New Testament – the very songs the early church sang (Philip. 2:6-11; Col. 1:15-20; 1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Tim. 2:11-13; Titus 3:4-7; Heb. 1:3-4; Rev. 5:9-13; 15:3-4).
This is extremely serious stuff. You cannot understand the Gospel if you don’t understand the mediation of Christ, which means you cannot truly know and worship God unless you get this. You say you believe in Jesus, but how can you if you don’t worship in the faith of His reconciling us to the Father? Yes, the heart of worship is Jesus, but it’s not Jesus the beautiful man I ascend to in my beautiful songs of worship that please God if I sing them the right way. Rather, it’s Jesus the humble Man who descended to us ugly people who could not possibly please God, but who now enter by the Spirit into His humble sacrifice to the Father. Do we have this Trinitarian understanding of worship when we offer ourselves to God, or are we unitarians, trying to please God on our own, essentially trampling underfoot the blood of Christ because His sacrifice isn’t good enough?
I thank Robb Redman for writing this (he must be a pupil of Bob Webber) and Chuck Fromm and Jeremy Armstrong, and whoever else was involved in the process, for running it. I truly do hope and pray that worship leaders everywhere will grab a hold of the mediation of Christ in worship, for true worship cannot happen without it. (Click below to read.)
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