How we worship

We were made to worship and enjoy God.   Most people would grant the first half of that statement: people are meant to worship God. But what about the second half? Were we made to enjoy God? And yet that is true. On the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus prayed to God, “I made known to them [all his followers] your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26). The New Testament closes with a picture of the redeemed human race being granted to drink from the river of the water of life and to eat of the fruit of the tree of life; it is a picture of enjoyment of God (Revelation 22:1-5).

So to know God is to worship and enjoy him. Worship of God and joy in God go hand-in-hand. And that means that congregational worship on the Lord’s Day is the high point of the week. In congregational worship we taste the goodness of the Word of God and the powers of the age to come.

How is that possible? It is possible because God dwells in the Church by the Holy Spirit. The Church is the only community on the face of the earth in which God dwells by his Spirit; it is the only community in which forgiveness, reconciliation and healing are possible; it is only in the Church that worship and joy in God are found.

In this way worship gives us the right perspective.   If we aim at joy, we will miss it. But if we aim at worship, then we get everything else thrown in as well. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). So worship helps us not to make idols of ourselves, our families, or even of our church. Worship sets our eyes on heaven, where Jesus is seated at the right hand of God.

So we will want to worship the right way.  We want to worship God. But no thinking Christian imagines that we can worship God any way we want. We all agree that worship is a spiritual action which must be conducted according to the truth.

To the best of our ability, the Reformed Presbyterian Church seeks to model its form of worship on the Bible, and the practices of the early Church. The essential elements of worship are the reading and preaching of the Word of God, prayers of intercession, the singing of God’s praises, and the giving of tithes and offerings. We try to do these in a reverent manner.

To an outsider, the most obvious difference between worship in the Reformed Presbyterian Church and that of most other churches is that we sing only from the book of Psalms. The Psalms are “breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). This cannot be said of any of the hymns composed by (often godly) men and women in the centuries subsequent to the closure of Scripture. Psalms sung in worship partake of the clarity, authority, necesssity and sufficiency of Holy Scripture.

We also sing “a cappella”, i.e. without the accompaniment of musical instruments. Far from rendering our singing dull, this encourages the use of harmony. You will also hear male voices singing. We don’t claim to be great singers, but that is not the point – the point is that all of us want to engage in worship because we want to glorify and enjoy God.

If you’re not familiar with “a cappella” singing of metrical psalms but would like to know what it sounds like, there are some good recordings to found on the following websites: