FAITH MATTERS

Define your day with a call to worship

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In most of the thousands of church services I've attended in my life, there is one element of weekly services that seems to be commonplace: the call to worship. It's often listed right after the morning's prelude and includes a song, a call and response or Scripture reading. The intention is to beckon parishioners to focus on the task at hand and the very thing that brings them inside the church: worship.

When executed well, the call to worship is both spiritually uplifting as well as convicting, two aspects which might seem in conflict to someone who has yet to experience a God who wants the best for his children. I've been party to several calls to worship that have brought me before the throne of God's mercy and reminded me of His amazing gift of grace.

Whether your church does a call to worship is a matter of the leadership's preference or theological convictions and I'm not here to argue either. I'm here to tell you that a daily call to worship as you approach this new year is certainly a worthy pursuit - something that will shape your 2017.

Last year was chaotic by many people's standards. Although it certainly wasn't the worst year in human history, it did give us a reason to worship a God who holds the future in his hands. We certainly can't completely trust any human institution - the economy, the government and certain media sources.

It's hard to recognize the daily opportunities to worship our Heavenly Father because the word itself has the connotations of a religious focus and fervor that most of us don't feel like we can muster on a typical day. I'll readily admit that my morning alarm clock should sound like a starter pistol because every day is filled with a litany of to-dos and obligations. God's call to worship, unfortunately, often gets lost in the fray.

But even above the noisy din of my daily routine, I hear the persistent and gentle call to worship the one who promises to give me the grace I need for today (2 Cor. 12:9) and a peace that passes all understanding (Phil. 4:7). It's that call to worship that brings me perspective; a knowing that regardless of that day's expectancies or surprises, God is ultimately in control. It's that call to worship that gives me the strength to approach friends and enemies with the same grace and understanding that was first shown to me by my loving God.

It's the call to worship that helps define us as believers; it helps us realize our need for God, and we should make no apologies for that decision. Here, at the beginning of the year, I hope you properly answer that call to worship the God of peace.

Contact Jamie H. Wilson at faithmatterssumter@gmail.com.