Summoned to Worship


How many times have you sat down in a pew and heard the call to worship from the pastor or worship leader? Perhaps your church doesn’t have a formal call to worship, but it at least has a welcome.  Have you ever taken a moment to think about the weightiness of that moment?

In James K. A. Smith’s book, Desiring the Kingdom, he argues that the call to worship is not just some suggestion or encouragement, but a command. He quotes Michael Horton who says, “Whenever we gather for public worship […] it is because we have been summoned.” (Emphasis added) God is the King who summons his people to his throne room to bring him their confession, adoration, laments, petitions, and praise in and through Jesus Christ. Horton goes on in his book, The Better Way, and says,

It (The local church) is not a voluntary society of those whose chief concern is to share, to build community, to enjoy fellowship, to have moral instruction for their children, and so forth. Rather, it is a society of those who have been chosen, redeemed, called, justified, and are being sanctified until one day they will finally be glorified in heaven. We gather each Lord’s Day not merely out of habit, social custom, or felt needs but because God has chosen this weekly festival as a foretaste of the everlasting Sabbath day that will be enjoyed fully at the marriage supper of the Lamb.

This isn’t optional for believers, it is necessary.

Could this understanding of the call to worship change the way you think about or experience church? Could it cause you to increase the amount of Sundays you go to church each month?

For further reading:

James K. A. Smith, Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation

Michael Horton, A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-Centered Worship. 


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