The picture of true worship in Psalm 150
I've heard before that if you want to get along with people, you ought to avoid discussing politics and religion. But a list of taboo topics for preachers probably looks a little different. I suppose politics might be on it, but not religion. If you are a preacher, and you plan on preaching from the Bible, the subject of religion is hard to keep away from.
No, I suppose if someone made a list of controversial topics that preachers might want to ignore, the list would begin with the subject of worship. There is no more contentious issue in the church today. We used to fight about theology. Today our arguments are over musical style and what kind of instruments we should use to worship God.
But if a preacher is planning to preach from the Psalms, the topic of worship is hard to ignore. And when we come to Psalm 150, the capstone Psalm in this book, it is impossible to ignore, because Psalm 150 is all about worship. And not only is it about worship, but it's about the music of worship. This Psalm offers a much needed reminder that worship is bigger than our personal preferences.
Worship originates with God.
Worship is bigger than our personal preferences, because it originates with God. The direction in this Psalm is counterintuitive. We would expect it to move from earth to heaven, because we usually think of worship as originating within us. Indeed, that may be one of the reasons we are so conflicted about it. We see worship as something personal. We treat worship as if it were the expression of one's own personal devotion to God, so when something gets in the way of that—the musical style, for example, or some form of expression that is outside of our comfort zone—then we don't really feel like it's our ...
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John Koessler is professor and chair of the Pastoral Studies Department at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois.