Part 9 - Worship
Worshipping God is our calling as humans in general and in particular as his church. The Confession teaches that nature itself shows us that there is a God, worthy of worship. However, it is only in God’s revealed word that we are taught how to worship him. This is his prerogative and he should not be worshipped in any other way. In other words we, as his creatures, are not at liberty to make our own decisions about the “best” way to worship our creator. We are prohibited from worshipping him via any visible representation.
Worship is to be given to the triune God (Father, Son and Spirit) and to him alone. Worshipping angels, saints or other beings is expressly not permitted. Since the fall, we cannot approach God except through a mediator, and since the New Testament the only permitted mediator is Jesus Christ, God the son. The minister (or any other church official) does not sit in the role of priest, interceding between God and man, neither do spirits or angels. Jesus is the only sufficient and only necessary mediator.
The confession identifies as key parts of worship the following:
Prayer - this is to be made through Jesus Christ, God the son and with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. It should include thanksgiving and may include prayer for all “lawful things”, but it must be seeking God’s will rather than our own. Prayer for others is encouraged, but prayers for the dead are not permitted. Where prayers are prayed aloud the should be restricted to a “known tongue”, one that can be heard and understood by other present.
Reading the Bible - God’s word should be central to our worship and reading it is a key part. It should also be considered carefully, which leads to -
Preaching - this is where the passage of the Bible which has been read is explained, explored and applied, faithfully and reverently.
Praise - Singing praise to the Lord from our hearts is another part of God ordained worship, with the confession particularly reminding us of the central place of the Psalms in sung praise.
The Sacraments - Baptism and Communion should be administered as part of public worship as appropriate.
The Confession makes clear that neither prayer nor worship is affected by or improved by the place in which it takes place but God is to be worshipped in all places at all times. There is nothing particularly “special” about a particular building or historic location in regards to worship. It also reminds us that as well as public worship (which is something we should not lightly miss out) we should also worship as families in our own homes.
This section of the confession also speaks of the Sabbath, which since the resurrection is Sunday, the first day of the week. This is a day which following God’s creation purposes is to be set aside both as a day to take a rest from worldly things, but also to dedicate to him and particularly to gather for public worship. This is not optional, but a commandment from God for our benefit.