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Soil: Week of Worship

Friday, 27 May, 2016 |

Week of Worship is Gateway’s annual festival.

Soil – Week of Worship (Teaser Clip)

This year, Week of Worship is happening from 19-26 June. We will be gathering each night, Monday – Friday from 8-9pm.

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“A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams.” — Mark 4 (MSG)

We praise God because of who He is. We lift up our voices to proclaim what He has done. We enter His courts with thanksgiving because of His great love for us, for the mercy which He has shown us, and for the grace that He has lavishly poured out upon our lives. His character and His saving deeds invite adoration, and in response we join in the eternal song that reverberates through the heavens proclaiming, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord …Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power …”

When we come to Week of Worship we never want to loose sight of this; our praise is directed to our Creator! Yet, there is something about praise and worship that points back in on us. It, in many respects, puts pressure upon us. When we behold him, we, like Isaiah, become aware of our lack, our uncleanness; we are people of unclean lips living among a people of unclean lips. We come to worship, but a confrontation with grace seems unavoidable.

It would be easy to think of this in only negative terms, (our stubbornness, our tendency to shun the gift, to continue to hide, to cover up, to stay on the run). However, it is in the presence of our Father that we get perspective, that we hear truth, that we see how things really are. As we sing the story, and are reminded again and again of Christ’s love for His Bride, we recount how tenderly He deals with us. The Gardener, in His grace, tends the soil of our hearts. In turning us over, exposing us to the light and to the rain, removing the rocks and weeds, He removes our stone hearts and gives us hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36), hearts capable of loving and being loved.

In what condition is the soil of your heart? Did you begin with passion and enthusiasm, following Jesus with much joy, but hard times have battered your faith? What happened to the words of promise that once sustained you? Have they been stolen away? Have other things grabbed your attention, lured you away, causing you to devote your care and concern to them? Have they choked out the life of faith? How has God been at work in your heart, have His hands plowed and planted? Can you marvel at His tender mercy, the miracles He has done, the hardness of hearted melted by His love?

Praise is a way of cooperating with the work of the Spirit. Thanksgiving makes a way for His saving work. We enter His presence with the password ’thank you’ and step into reality not away from it. Here we see Him in his glory and ourselves in our lack. We witness creation in awe, and find our acceptance though blood of the Lamb. Here we join in the song of heaven.

So, as we approach our Week of Worship we say, let praise plough the garden of our hearts.