The way we worship is strange to many Christians today. With the rise of movements like “the Jesus movement,” being “seeker sensitive,” and being “contemporary,” came a decline in historic Christian patterns for approaching God. It is now common for singing to occupy the first half of the service and the sermon to take up the second half, with a song of praise at the end. While it may seem like we should get ourselves in the mood for the sermon by singing (called “worshiping”), this pattern of praise before hearing the word is unhelpful. Consider what is being communicated with that structure, where man initiates with God and, then, God responds to us with His word. This is a pattern of works, not grace!
Historically, the order of service in a Reformed church has attempted to communicate the opposite message. Their structure reinforces the biblical truth that God is always the One that initiates His relationship with man. This is true in creation and redemption; God speaks first and we respond to Him.
This back-and-forth structure may prevent you from sitting back and relaxing because you need to stand up and sit down a few times, but no one should be passive in a conversation, especially not with the Living God. And that’s what worship is, a covenantal conversation between God and man, which God initiates.
On the whole, our liturgy reflects the message of the Bible: Guilt, Grace, and Gratitude. Having been convicted of our sin and guilt, we are assured of God’s grace in Christ and spurred on to gratitude (prayer, praise, and love for our neighbor). When you join us to worship, you can be sure that you are not working your way up to God but that He is coming down and meeting you – yes, the gospel is so wonderful that Christ not only cared for you at the start of your Christian life, but He feeds you even now with His gospel of grace.