Imaginary Cousin Willie Wally Wishum has never been known for scholarship, so the librarian was surprised to see him roaming the stacks. She asked how she could help.
"I have to read a play by Shakespeare," Willie said.
"Which one?" the librarian asked.
Scrunching his face in thought, Willie finally said, “I think it’s William."
It was William Shakespeare who penned the famous line: “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
If it’s true that we are actors, then who writes our script? In particular, who wrote the script that formed our concept of the word worship?
Most seem to equate worship with what takes place for that sacred hour on Sunday. Church signs announce that Worship is at 11:00 a.m. Churches announce openings for “worship leaders” referring to someone to orchestrate that Sunday hour.
Who wrote that script? We like to think God did. We are often quite confident that what we do in the name of Christ actually came from Christ. But does it? A new book title caught my eye: I Knew Jesus before He Was a Christian . . . and I Liked Him Better Then. The author, Rubel Shelly insists: “The Roman Emperor Constantine took control of the church and morphed the Body of Christ into a hierarchical institution that looked more like a government or a business.”
Whether it was Constantine or other forces, I’m convinced that something morphed the common Christian understanding of worship. It became a ritual, a ceremony, limited to Sunday mornings.
The main problem with that is that is simply is not Biblical. That’s our script, not God’s. It also distorts our understanding of how to please God. We focus more on getting it right on Sunday than on living rightly on Monday. An additional problem is that when the hour on Sunday became the focus, it also became the source of many, if not most, church squabbles.
In contrast to that script, Scripture says that those who follow Jesus offer their priestly sacrifices to God “acceptably with reverence and awe,” not in the ways we have come to associate with worship, but in simple daily acts like “loving each other as brothers,” and not forgetting to “entertain strangers” and keeping “your lives free from the love of money” (Hebrews 12:28-13:5).
When it comes to worship, let’s allow the Scriptures be our script.