So why do we worship the way we do?
We noted last week that the overall structure of our worship service is called Covenant Renewal. We are following the thematic structure of the three main sacrifices of the Old Covenant: first we confess our sins, then we ascend into heaven in songs of praise to hear God’s word read and preached, and finally we celebrate the peace we have in Jesus by sitting down to eat the Lord’s Supper together.
Today I want to explain why we do and say many of the same things every Sunday. In other words, I want to defend the idea of a liturgy. First, God loves repetition and order. We see this in the creation story, where God speaks, makes divisions, sees what He has made, gives names, and calls it good. God follows this repetition in nature, when the sun comes up and goes back down, in the cycle of seasons. Later, in sacrificial worship, there are repeated actions and words. When Isaiah is given a glimpse of heaven, the angels are singing the Sanctus: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty and when John has the same vision in Revelation, there they are again singing the same song. Jesus gave us this meal of bread and wine to celebrate regularly.
Jesus also says that unless we become like little children we cannot enter the Kingdom. Children, you are welcome here with us, and this is one of the reasons we repeat so much of the service every week, so even if you can’t read yet, we hope you feel welcome because we say and sing many of the same things every week. But in this sense, we all come to worship as children, to call upon God our Father, so that we may grow up into the maturity of Christ. And practice makes perfect. If you have ever learned an instrument or a skill, you know that it means practicing the same things over and over again. Think of worship as the center of the School of Jesus. You are practicing confession of sin, practicing forgiveness, practicing hearing the Word, practicing fellowship and peace.
So do not come in here in your pride, thinking that you are all grown up and wise. No, unless you come as a child in humility, you cannot enter. So in this season of Lent and at all times, come before God as children, seeking forgiveness, seeking healing, seeking wisdom, seeking peace. We are like kids eager with anticipation, and we call out to our Father: Do it again! Do it again!