worship

Augustine on 'What Do I Love When I Love My God?'

What Do I Love When I Love My God? Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE dates from the fifth century. It is from the quill of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in Northern Africa, and explores a believer’s love for God. Augustine asks, “What is it that I love when I love my God?” [Note: Please be sure to see the AUGUSTINE JAZZ BONUS at the bottom of this message. Did he say, “Augustine Jazz Bonus”? Yes, I did. Please take a look.]

WHAT DO I LOVE WHEN I LOVE MY GOD?
What is it then that I love when I love you? Not bodily beauty, and not temporal glory, not the clear shining light, lovely as it is to our eyes, not the sweet melodies of many-moded songs, not the soft smell of flowers and ointments and perfumes, not manna and honey, not limbs made for the body’s embrace, not these do I love when I love my God.

Yet I do love a certain light, a certain voice, a certain odor, a certain food, a certain embrace when I love my God: a light, a voice, an odor, a food, an embrace for the man within me, where his light, which no embrace can contain, floods into my soul; where he utters words that time does not speed away; where he sends forth an aroma that no wind can scatter; where he provides food that no eating can lessen; where he so clings that satiety does not sunder us. This is what I love when I love my God.


—Augustine of Hippo (354-430) from THE CONFESSIONS OF ST. AUGUSTINE, Book 10, Chapter 6, translated by John K. Ryan. Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1960, pp. 233-34. Here is the chapter at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library: www.ccel.org/ccel/augustine/confess.xi.vi.html


CHIPS THOUGHT'S

AUGUSTINE JAZZ BONUS: Recently, I was introduced to the music of a wonderful jazz group from Minneapolis—the Jason Harms Quintet. One of the tunes on their new CD is, you guessed it, “What Do I Love? (When I Love My God).” This entire song is available for you to hear at www.jasonharms.com/music.html. I hope you will take a moment to listen to this and some other samples from this terrific CD. Enjoy!


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

Stott on a Biblical Definition of Worship

In today's Worship Quote, John Stott sends us back to the basics.

THIS IS WORSHIP
This is worship. It is to seek to give to God the glory which is due to his name. Indeed, the best biblical definition of worship I know is to "glory in his holy name" (Psalm 105:3), that is, to revel in the unique wonder of who he is and has revealed himself to be. If worship is right because God is worthy of it, it is also the best of all antidotes to our own self-centredness, the most effective way to "disinfect us of egotism," as one writer put it long ago. In true worship we turn the searchlight of our mind and heart upon God and temporarily forget about our troublesome and usually intrusive selves. We marvel at the beauties and intricacies of God's creation. We "survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died."

We are taken up with God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Jesus taught us to do this in the Lord's Prayer, whose first three sentences focus not on our needs but on his glory, on the honouring of his name, the spread of his kingdom and the doing of his will.  Because we are normally so turned in on ourselves, we will not find this easy.  But we have to persevere, since nothing is more right or more important.

- John R. W. Stott, Christian Basics, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), 119.


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

Dawn on Worship for Postmodern Times

Today's Worship Quote is from the recent book by theologian Marva Dawn.

WORSHIP FOR POSTMODERN TIMES
The postmodern world that surrounds us yearns for stability, morality, security, fidelity, faith, hope, and love. These deep needs can only be met through the One who meets our deepest needs for Truth. Let us make sure that the worship services we plan and conduct present that Truth in all its clarity and beauty and goodness.

- Marva J. Dawn, A Royal “Waste” of Time: The Splendor of Worshiping God and Being Church for the World, Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999, 69.


CHIP’S THOUGHTS

The author says that she wants to purge our language of the phrase "going to church." We need to remind ourselves and our world that church is not somewhere we go; rather, something we are!

So, be the church!

Have a great week!


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

Fee on Spirit-Inspired Singing

Today's Worship Quote is about the Holy Spirit's involvement in the worship life of the Church. Gordon Fee, a professor at Regent College in Vancouver, B. C., explains the passages from Paul's letters about "psalms and hymns and Spiritual songs" (Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5).

SPIRIT-INSPIRED SINGING
Where the Spirit of God is, there is also singing. The early church was characterized by its singing; so also in every generation where there is renewal by the Spirit a new hymnody breaks forth. If most such songs do not have staying power, some of them do, and these become the treasure-trove of our ongoing teaching and admonishing of one another, as well as of our constantly turning to God the Father and God the Son and offering praise by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

- Gordon D. Fee, Paul, The Spirit, and the People of God, Hendrickson Publishers, 1996.


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

Short on Worship for Nominal Christians

Today's Worship Quote is a reminder that we are often tempted to worship the trappings of Christianity, rather than the person of Jesus Christ.

WORSHIP FOR THE NOMINAL CHRISTIAN
The nominal Christian, then, will see Jesus as a name, a representative, a symbol, a personification, a prototype, a figure, a model, an exemplar for something else. The nominal Christian pays homage to something about Jesus, rather than worshipping the man himself. For this reason, nominal Christians will extol the moral teachings of Jesus, the faith of Jesus, the personality of Jesus, the compassion of Jesus, the world view of Jesus, the self-understanding of Jesus, etc. None of these worships Jesus as the Christ, but only something about him, something peripheral to the actual flesh-and-blood man. This is why when the almighty God came into the world in Jesus, he came as the lowest of the low, as weakness itself, as a complete and utter nothing, in order that men would be forced into the crucial decision about him alone and would not be able to worship anything about him.

- Robert L. Short, The Parables of Peanuts, Harper and Row, 1968.


CHIP’S THOUGHTS

Lord Jesus Christ, show us yourself. Help us to worship you in spirit and in truth. Amen.

Have a great week!


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

Anselm on Desiring God

Today's Worship Quote is from St. Anselm. He served as Archbishop of Canterbury and is sometimes referred to as the "father of scholasticism." He may be most famous for his "ontological proof" - an attempt to prove by logic that God exists.

DESIRING GOD
O Lord our God,
Grant us grace to desire you with our whole heart,
  that so desiring we may seek and find you;
  and so finding you; we may love you;
  and loving you, we may hate those sins from which you
    have redeemed us,
  for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen.

- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), Proslogion.


CHIP’S THOUGHTS

Lord, thank you for seeking us before we knew to seek after you. Thank you for loving us long before we ever loved you. Amen!

Have a great week!


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

Gaddy on Silence in Worship

Our corporate worship experiences are often marked by exuberant praise and spectacular musical celebrations, but today's Worship Quote is an encouragement to also take advantage of actual silence in our worship of God.

SILENCE IN WORSHIP
In worship, silence is far more that the absence of sound. Silence constitutes a vital part of the divine-human dialogue. In silence, worshipers can experience interchanges with God that will not be known where silence does not prevail.

- C. Welton Gaddy, The Gift of Worship, Broadman Press, 1992.


CHIP’S THOUGHTS

Be still and know that he is God (Psalm 46).

Have a great week!


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

Hustad on Worship and Relationship

Today's Worship Quote is another that points not to forms of worship, but to worship as an appropriate loving relationship with God (and with others). The author is Donald Hustad.

TRUE WORSHIP IS RELATIONSHIP
How do we minister to and worship God in spirit and truth? Jesus gave us an answer as he quoted words from the Torah which every Jew of his time knew from memory: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength"; then he added, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:30-31). Worshiping God and loving God are not absolutely synonymous, but they are closely related, perhaps like opposite sides of a continuous circle. This great commandment says that true worship is determined not so much by the words "traditional" or "contemporary," but by relationship – our relationship with God and our relationship with other persons. Worshiping God begins and ends with loving God more than anything or anyone else in the world. It should be apparent then that no person worships God who does not have a love relationship with God. Further, no person worships God acceptably who is not in loving relationship with other human beings, who are "neighbors."

Don Hustad in True Worship: Reclaiming the Wonder and Majesty, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1998.


CHIP’S THOUGHTS

Lord, thank you for being the initiator of this loving relationship of worship. Help us to respond to your love in spirit and truth. Amen!

Have a great week!


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

Madeleine L'Engle on Words and Prayer

Today's Worship Quote is a poem about prayer-specifically, about the inadequacy of words when it comes to communion with God.

WORD
I, who live by words, am wordless when
I try my words in prayer. All language turns
To silence. Prayer will take my words and then
Reveal their emptiness. The stilled voice learns
To hold its peace, to listen with the heart
To silence that is joy, is adoration.
The self is shattered, all words torn apart
In this strange patterned time of contemplation
That, in time, breaks time, breaks words, breaks me,
And then, in silence, leaves me healed and mended.
I leave, returned to language, for I see
Through words, even when all words are ended.
   I, who live by words, am wordless when
   I turn me to the Word to pray. Amen.

-Madeleine L'Engle, The Weather of the Heart, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1978, 60.


CHIP’S THOUGHTS

Sometimes words fall short. My response to God in worship and prayer is not necessarily limited by the power of my vocabulary or the eloquence of my "prayer logic." Sometimes being moved to silence, awe and wonder is an appropriate response to God's mystery and majesty.

Have a great week!


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

Augustine on Joy

Today's Worship Quote of the Week is another from the quill of St. Augustine-a testimony to the total life of joyful worship.

THERE IS A JOY
There is a joy which is not given to the ungodly, but to those who love Thee for Thine own sake, whose joy Thou Thyself art. And this is the happy life, to rejoice to Thee, of Thee, for Thee; this it is, and there is no other.

-Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions.


CHIP’S THOUGHTS

Lord, tune our hearts to sing your praise. May our prayer and worship be to you, of you, and for you alone. Amen!

Have a great week!


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