The greatest event in human history is the incarnation of Jesus – God became human. Unlike what other religions teach, Christianity teaches that God reached out to man when we weren’t even searching for him and even acknowledged him.
So when we come to worship “that” God on Sunday, we ought to enjoy the “intimacy” that we have with Him, through Jesus Christ. We can call him our friend, comforter, and helper. We can also enjoy his loving presence. This must happen during worship, otherwise everything we do becomes a mere religious activity.
Having said that, we also need to be aware that there is another side of God – Not only he is a loving Father but also a King. Jesus is not only our saviour, but also Lord. If we only emphasize the tenderness of God’s love, we lose the sight of his transcendence. In theological terms, it’s called the “otherness” of God. Both God’s “likeness” and “otherness” have to be experienced during worship.
He is like us in a sense that he feels our emotions, and he wants to have an intimate relationship. On the other hand, he is also vastly different from us because he is God, supernatural and all-powerful. He simply doesn’t think like us. His wisdom is infinite. His plans for us are beyond our wildest dreams and imaginations.
So there are two parts to our worship – time of greeting and fellowship with each other, and time that is focused on God alone, through praise and sermon. But God’s otherness can be experienced better in a simple way – be prepared before you come to Church.
Imagine my Father is a president of the US – at home, I can be really comfortable with him. But if I’m meeting him at a congress meeting, I will prepare myself so that I can show my proper honor and respect due his position and power. Preparing your meeting with God by praying for Sunday worship in advance helps you to be reminded of the fact that he is God.
It is critical for us to maintain a sense of awe toward God; otherwise our Christian life will become casual and self-centred because we will inevitably try to “tame” God to our liking and comfort level. Let’s remember that when we come to Church on Sunday, we are not only entering a place where people are present, but also God is present.