Queen Elizabeth I on Sixteenth Century Blended Worship

Today's Worship Quote comes from the middle of the 16th century, a time of great transition in the history of Christian worship. It appears that the church leaders were trying to achieve a sort of "blending" of worship styles and traditions. Sound familiar?

Meanwhile in England, the Established Church substituted a vernacular prose translation for the Vulgate [Latin] Psalms. This was authorized in the three Prayer Books and was ordered to be read through in the course of a month during Matins and Evensong. Together with this official usage, there grew up the extra-liturgical custom of singing a metrical psalm before and after the prescribed order. This custom, which may possibly be traced to the influence of the returned exiles, appears to have obtained official sanction: for in her Injunctions to the clergy in 1559, Queen Elizabeth directed:

"For the comforting as such as delight in music, it may be permitted that at the beginning or end of Common Prayer, either at Morning or Evening, there may be sung a hymn or such like song to the praise of Almighty God, in the best melody and music that may be devised, having respect that the sentence of the hymn be understood and perceived."

- Queen Elizabeth I, quoted in Horton Davies The Worship of the English Puritans (Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1997).


In this case, of course, the hymns and metrical Psalms were considered less formal than the prescribed Prayer Book worship.

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Tozer on Spiritual Nourishment

Today's Worship Quote is another from the pen of A. W. Tozer. He was the pastor of Chicago's Southside Alliance Church from 1928 to 1959. He never went to be a Bible school, seminary or university, but his many writings consistently and powerfully direct the reader's attention to the amazing God who desires our love, devotion and worship.

The Pursuit of God
By A.W. Tozer

Sound Bible exposition is an imperative must in the Church of the Living God. Without it no church can be a New Testament church in any strict meaning of that term. But exposition may be carried on in such a way as to leave the hearers devoid of any true spiritual nourishment whatever. For it is not mere words that nourish the soul, but God Himself, and unless and until the hearers find God in personal experience they are not the better for having heard the truth. The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God Himself in the core and center of their hearts.

- A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, (Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, 1948).


Lord, thank you for the Scriptures. Thank you that through them we can come to know you, inter into you, and delight in you. Amen!

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Webber on Divine Action in Worship

Today's Worship Quote is from Robert Webber, late theology professor at Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Illinois.

In worship there is divine action. In our celebration of Christ, something happens. There is an action from above: the Holy Spirit delivers Christ and the benefits of Christ's death and resurrection to the worshipers.

In other words, in worship our relationship with Christ is established, maintained, and repaired. Christ meets us in our act of celebrating his death and resurrection. In this worship encounter, the Spirit brings us the very real benefits of Christ's death - salvation, healing, comfort, hope, guidance, and assurance. Through this encounter, order and meaning come into our lives. Through worship, a right ordering of God, the world, self, and neighbor is experienced, and the worshiper receives a peace that passes understanding. Simply put, worship is an it-is-well-with-my-soul experience.

-Robert Webber, Blended Worship: Achieving Substance and Relevance in Worship, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996).

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Kendrick on Repentance and Worship

Most of us probably think of repentance as something that prepares us to worship God. We view repentance as prelude to real worship, as prerequisite for praise. Worship leader and songwriter Graham Kendrick sees repentance as central.

We do not always think of repentance as worship, but it can be much easier to sing a rousing hymn than to turn away from our favourite sin. A sinful act involves worship of the wrong kind, submitting ourselves at that moment to serve the appetites of our pride or lust, and so repentance is literally a transfer of our worship back to the One who rightfully owns it . . . Worship has been misunderstood as something that arises from a feeling which "comes upon you," but it is vital that we understand that it is rooted in a conscious act of the will, to serve and obey the Lord Jesus Christ. The feelings, the joy of having been forgiven, follow on as a consequence of our reunion with him.

- Graham Kendrick, Worship, (Kingsway Publications, 1984), 26.


Remember that repenting from sin is quite different from confessing sin. Repentance is turning, changing course.

Kyrie eleison. Lord, have mercy, and by your grace, help us to turn away from sin. Today, help us to turn toward you. Amen!

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Benedict of Nursia on the Community at Worship

He started out as a hermit and later became the leader of a flourishing religious community in the hill country near Rome. His followers lived a simple and austere life, gathering for prayer seven times each day, and spending the rest of their time in manual work, private prayer and study. Today's Worship Quote of the Week comes from Benedict of Nursia (480?-547?), founder of the Benedictines.

We believe that God is present everywhere, and the eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the good and the bad . . . We must therefore consider how we should behave in the sight of Divine Majesty, and as we sing our psalms let us see to it that our mind is in harmony with our voice.

- Benedict of Nursia, Eerdmans' Book of Christian Classics: A Treasury of Christian Writings through the Centuries, ed. Veronica Zundel (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985), 26.


Almighty and loving Lord, may the praises on our lips be accompanied by the sincere devotion of our hearts. Amen!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Best on the imago Dei

What are the implications for worship that come from knowing we are created in God's image? Today's Worship Quote comes from Harold Best's book Music Through the Eyes of Faith.

A Christian worldview maintains that God, the one and only Creator, is alone worthy of worship. Recognizing that God created us in his image, it further maintains that a unique aspect of that imaging lies in the capability of the two beings to communicate with each other, to enjoy each other's presence, to love each other without end, and to be at work continually together: the one sovereignly creating, upholding what has been created and revealing himself to it, the other responding through worship, adoration, stewardly work, and creativity.

Such communion and worship are possible only because of the unique relationship between Creator and creature: the one is created in the image of the other. The difference is one of infinity and infinitude: the Creator is infinitely more-than, we are finite and less-than. Even so, the relationship is based on kind: we are created in God's image. Hence worship is not a one-sided affair, the one only getting and the other only giving. True, the Creator, by his very transcendence, cannot be but worshiped. And the creature, imago Dei, cannot help but worship. True, the worth-ship of the one naturally woos the worship of the other. But this relationship is also an exchanging of gifts, because both are givers. This is a willing union of all-sufficiency and dependence, sovereignty and subordination, prevenient love and responding love, transcendent worthiness and temporal worth. We risk a paradox: while the Creator calls for worship, the worshiper would rush to worship even if he did not call.

- Harold Best, Music Through the Eyes of Faith (New York: Harper Collins, 1993), 144.

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Peterson on the Shape of Creation

Today's Worship Quote is another from Eugene Peterson's book Answering God, a wonderful study of how to use the Psalms as tools for prayer.  Peterson was Professor of Spiritual Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Prayer recovers the shape of our creation. We are created in "the image of God." We are declared, on the authority of Genesis, "good." We, and everyone and everything around us have this basic beauty, this wondrous goodness. But we very often don't feel at all good. We do not perceive ourselves "in the image of God." We are conscious of failure and inadequacy; we experience criticism and rejection; we feel lousy. The memory of our good creation is obscured in a thick fog of failure and inadequacy.

Prayer is a reentry into the reality of our good creation. The Psalms, all spoken out of this ordered and purposed beauty, activate our memories of creation. Always the Genesis milieu is implicit; sometimes it is explicit. When we pray the Psalms we consciously enter the reality of our good creation.

Our lives are bracketed by God: "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth!" is the first last line of both Psalm 8 and of our lives. Within the brackets-and there is nothing that is not within the brackets-our creation takes place.

- Eugene H. Peterson, Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer, (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1989).

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Kendrick on Where Worship Begins

Today's Worship Quote is from songwriter Graham Kendrick.

Everybody worships. Whether it is a hero, possessions, success, pleasure, a political cause, a carved idol or oneself, the way we live and behave makes evident the things we love and give ourselves to. It is in our very nature to worship, and that inner drive is God-given; the disaster is that as part of a fallen race, we have replaced the object of our worship. To be converted to faith in Jesus Christ is to return to the worship of the true God, and to dethrone all rivals to his authority.

- Graham Kendrick, Worship (Kingsway Publications, 1984), 24.


May we continue to turn our God-given worshiping nature toward the only worthy object. The source becomes the goal.

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Lewis on the Spiritual Value of Music

Today's Worship Quote by C.S. Lewis is another on issues of style as they relate to the music used in worship.

Christian Reflections
By C. S. Lewis

The first and most solid conclusion which (for me) emerges is that both musical parties, the High Brows and the Low, assume far too easily the spiritual value of the music they want. Neither the greatest excellence of a trained performance from the choir, nor the heartiest and most enthusiastic bellowing from the pews, must be taken to signify that any specifically religious activity is going on. It may be so, or it may not.

- C. S. Lewis, "On Church Music," in Christian Reflections (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967).


Lewis, a non-singer, is obviously pushing the point that true worship is from the heart. See the first chapter of Isaiah to see what God thinks of religious observance without appropriate heart attitude.

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.

Buechner on Prayer

Today's Worship Quote comes from Frederick Buechner and deals with an aspect of prayer that is sometimes difficult to understand - for me, at least.

According to Jesus, by far the most important thing about praying is to keep at it. The images he uses to explain this are all rather comic, as though he thought it was rather comic to have to explain it at all. He says God is like a friend you go to borrow bread from at midnight. The friend tells you in effect to drop dead, but you go on knocking anyway until finally he gives you what you want so he can go back to bed again (Luke 11:5-8). Or God is like a crooked judge who refuses to hear the case of a certain poor widow, presumably because he knows there's nothing much in it or him. But she keeps on hounding him until finally he hears her case just to get her out of his hair (Luke 18:1-8). Even a stinker, Jesus says, won't give his own child a black eye when he asks for peanut butter and jelly, so how all the more will God when HIS children... (Matthew 7:9-11).

Be importunate, Jesus says-not, one assumes, because you have to beat a path to God's door before he'll open it, but because until you beat the path maybe there'll be no way of getting to YOUR door. 'Ravish my heart,' John Donne wrote. But God will not usually ravish. He will only court.

-Frederick Buechner, Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner, ed. George Connor (New York City: Harper Collins, 1992).


I had to look up "importunate." The Random House Dictionary had some help for me. "adj.  1. urgent or persistent in solicitation.  2. pertinacious, as solicitations or demands.  3. troublesome, annoying." It sounds a bit like nagging, doesn't it? Keep praying!

Have a great week!

To learn more about Chip Stam and his Worship Quote of the Week, click below.