“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,
bow down before him, his glory proclaim.”

When we look at a glorious sun-set, gaze across a beautiful landscape, marvel at the intricacies of a delicate flower, or watch in awe at some other wonder of God’s creation (think ‘Blue Planet II’), our hearts can be lifted, and we feel compelled to “Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness”

But what about those times when we don’t feel like worshipping God?

It could be when we look back to those times when our churches were full, especially at Christmas, at Harvest, at Easter … and we miss that feeling of really worshipping God with much hearty singing to the accompaniment of a resounding pipe organ.

It might be because of the snide remarks and jeers that can be directed at us from non-Christians today.

Or we may be feeling that life has dealt us a bad deal; some trouble knocks us back; an illness, a death, some deep concern for the well-being of those whom we love the most which cause us much anguish and heart break. At those times we can feel utterly miserable, depressed, alone. We might even question our faith

Yes, awe and wonder are appropriate responses to God’s beauty and glory. But in those down times, what then?

Jesus said “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”. In order to worship ‘in spirit and truth’, our words and gestures must be motivated by the right intentions, not just be a matter of ‘going through the motions’ or trying to flatter God.

We can be so tired or distracted or even troubled by feelings and emotions, that our motives are mixed … but we can still choose to place ourselves intentionally before God with the intention to worship, and ask that God’s grace carries us … even in those times when we have no desire to worship.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers

The hope we have is the hope we celebrate at this time of Advent, in the coming of “the king who comes in the name of the Lord” … Jesus, the Christ child … and the promise we have of eternal life with him.

It is that hope which enables us to be patient in suffering, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to the needs of the saints, and to extend hospitality to strangers

And if that isn’t worship, then nothing is.

Rod Morrison, Hall Gate URC


image – Rod’s own