What is Biblical Worship?
Are human beings supposed to create, invent their own forms of worship? In the Bible, God revealed the “pattern” to Moses and the Prophets after him as they saw the Eternal Worship that always takes place in the Heavens. The angels participate in it: we are called to enter into that eternally existing pattern of worship, not to invent our own…
We know how God’s people in the Old Testament worshiped, and we know how God’s people in the early Church worshiped too because we have writings from eye-witness covering the first 400 years. And it was a time of persecution during which the ancient Church preserved and finalized the Bible.
But contemporary Christianity, especially in America, has become increasingly disconnected from the biblical heavenly pattern of worship, so much that “worship” often means an uplifting rock concert with a catchy message (photo below). As a result, the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper, once the constitutive moment of ‘being the Church,’ is becoming rare or optional. Lost is any sense of an ascent to the pre-existing pattern seen by Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel or John in the book of Revelation; it is replaced by a people-and-culture-centric gathering. Through new eyes, the ancient church invites you to rediscover biblical worship and what “on earth as it is in heaven” also means…
Above; in heaven: Since the Days of the Patriarch Joseph (Genesis 28) and of Moses (Exodus 25), God’s people have worshiped according to the heavenly pattern. This is what was seen by Isaiah (Isaiah 6), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1) and the Apostle John (Revelation 4). This “temple pattern” has been the normative form of worship since beginning of time because it is an ascent to God’s throne. Man-made worship is like the Golden Calf: beat-driven, fashion-dependent, people centric, emotionally charged (Exodus 32).
Below: A Orthodox bishop leads the Church’s worship on the Feast of the Resurrection. Orthodox Christian worship has remained unchanged since… as long as we can document Christian worship! It is unchanged from the heavenly pattern revealed in the Bible (Sirach 50).