I have locked myself into a series here in the Pastor’s Ponderings on the order of worship we typically follow in our corporate worship services. So far, we have considered the function of the Prelude and how it is designed to be a time of preparation for corporate worship. (I hope you are using that time for such an important purpose.) We have also looked at the Welcome and Announcements time and the importance of those elements in our worship as a gathered body. The next thing we need to consider is “The Call to Worship.”
In considering The Call to Worship we must first consider a foundational principle that guides how we approach worship from a Reformed and Presbyterian perspective. The fundamental principle of worship we find in the Scriptures is what is called, “The Regulative Principle.” Simply put, the principle is this: People have no right to approach the Holy God in worship in any manner they choose.
It is God who determines how He is to be worshiped, not sinful men. It is God who initiates worship and men respond. In all spiritual things in life this is the flow: God begins the process, by His grace, and men respond as they are enabled by the Holy Spirit. Worship is no exception. God “calls” us to worship Him in His Word. We respond to that call with singing, praying, giving, confessing, professing and preaching. We draw near to God in worship because He invites us to draw near to Him in Christ. God calls us from our earthly cares and relationships to focus on Him and His Kingdom.
Robert Rayburn describes the call to worship this way, “The call to worship summons the people to a consideration of that exalted purpose for which they have assembled. The minister calls them on behalf of God, and this introduces the divine-human dialogue. We must always remember that no one is fully ready for the high and holy experience of united corporate worship…The call to worship must, just as far as possible, secure their attention for the all-important activity of the precious hour of corporate communion with God in which it is each one’s individual privilege to participate.”
This call from God to worship is no small thing. It is not something to take lightly. The Triune God of the Universe is calling you from His Word to come to worship. The call is a command to be obeyed not an option to be considered. That is not to say that we are to dutifully come to worship like a child being called home from play. Just the opposite is true. Like children released for recess we should run with our hearts flung open wide to embrace the opportunity to worship our Holy God. He deserves nothing less than our whole hearted devotion and love.
God’s attributes are the main theme of the call to worship. So next time you hear the call to worship, pay attention to the excellencies of our God and know that it is God Himself calling you to worship from His Word. God calls you to come into the very throne room of heaven to commune with Him as His dearly loved child. How could you ever refuse such a priceless invitation.