Excellence In Worship
By Justin Gray
Last week, during our weekly Every Nation staff devotional, Pastor Steve Murrell shared a message on the importance of developing strong Christian character. He referenced a book he was reading entitled The Gothic Enterprise by Robert A. Scott. For more of Pastor Steve’s thoughts, you can check out his blog on the topic here.
During his exhortation, he mentioned that during renovations of the Salisbury Cathedral, a gothic cathedral in England, the workers discovered some of the most intricate and ornate artwork hidden in obscure places throughout the church — artwork that would never be seen until someone began picking the building apart.
After the devotional, I checked out Salisbury Cathedral’s website. On the home page, you’ll find this short and yet very profound description: “A place of excellence in worship and music for over 750 years.”
Three words stand out in above statement, which ultimately encapsulates the main idea of this post — “excellence in worship.”
A lot can change over the course of 750 years. But for Christ followers, “excellence in worship” is very specific and never changes. Excellence in worship is this idea that we reflect back to God in the best way possible what he has revealed to us about himself.
Jesus said it this way, “…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matt 5:16
And to this I say Amen.
I have to admit as a creative person I’ve felt right at home in this passage of scripture. I want to shine…I mean…I want to shine so people will glorify God (insert blushing emoji).
But a closer look at scripture gives us a more balanced view of excellence in worship.
“For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 1 Sam 16:7
I believe we become excellent worshippers when we, with joy and honor, create great things for the eyes of God. The eyes that see those things made in secret that may never be seen in public.
Here’s the question: Am I ok with making great things that may never be seen? Are you?
The hidden artistic work of the Salisbury Cathedral definitely speaks to us about the value of Christian character. But if we listen closely we can also hear the hearts of the artisans saying: “If only God sees this, in Him I am satisfied.”