二○一八年六月九日／六月十日 Click here for English version
活力不等於狂熱、敬虔不等於拘謹。惟獨辨識聖靈整全的帶領和祂對群體的旨意，然後順著聖靈作為回應，這才是最重要的敬虔表達。而群體的敬拜，就是聖靈匯聚各人在祂面前經歷祂，透過祂所賜的不同恩賜及在各人身上的恩典來見證祂的榮耀。當群體來到主面前時，是會充滿敬虔的喜樂的，因為聖經說：「在你面前有滿足的喜樂」（詩十六 11）。雅各書又說：「有喜樂的呢，他就該歌頌」（雅五 13）。歌唱可以實踐不同的意義，但歌頌最自然的目的（包括在崇拜中），就是表達喜樂，因為喜樂也是一種敬虔的表達。
Devout and Joyful Worship
Rev Pun Kin Tong
Different churches create different atmospheres in their worship. Sometimes different worship services in the same church give different atmospheres. But this is not the most important. The key element in worship is a devout attitude.
The traditional worship creates a solemn, decent environment. If this takes place within a tall, majestic church building, it gives a saintly, sacred and awe-inspiring impression. Contemporary worship captures the emotions and endeavors to take the congregation to God through music. However, the feeling induced by the physical environment is not the same as inner godliness. This is because real godliness is not generated by the worship environment including the atmosphere and the order of worship. It depends on the authentic work of the Holy Spirit.
To worship with piety and reverence means to let your heart follow the guidance of the Spirit in worship. Some people think that "moved by the Holy Spirit" means "impromptu," or that a worship "filled with the Holy Spirit" must be fanatical. But the fact is, the work of the Holy Spirit can be well-organized and orderly, without loud expression or confusion. As Paul told the church at Corinth: "But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way" (1 Corinthians 14:40). Being organized and orderly does not mean ritualization. Our freedom in worship should be built upon basic order. We should also watch out against the crisis of a sort of artificial fanaticism.
On the other hand, there are others who think that a devout and god-fearing heart brings solemnness and inability to feel at home. They think that in extreme cases, a worship service will be like a training assembly in which participants follow the stipulations of the environment and the procedures. But the Bible tells us that our worship before God should be vibrant and lively, just like David and all the Israelites "celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, timbrels, cymbals and trumpets" (1 Chronicles 13:8). Isaiah 6 also tells us how, when seraphim sang praises to the Lord, they spread their wings and flew. Psalm 150 encourages us to use various musical instruments to praise God: "Praise him with timbrel and dancing." "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord." Lively praise means using our gift of vitality to magnify God.
Vitality is not fanaticism. Godliness does not mean uneasiness. The most important expression of devotion to God is discerning the guidance of the Holy Spirit in its entirety. It is also discerning God's will for the church and following and responding to the Holy Spirit. In corporate worship, the Holy Spirit puts together individual experiences in Him and lets His grace in our lives bear witness to His glory through His gifts to us. When the church comes before God, it is full of the joy of piety. The Bible says, "You will fill me with joy in your presence" (Psalm 16:11), and "Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise" (James 5:13). Singing can do a lot of things. In worship, songs of praise naturally aim to express joy, because joy is also an expression of devotion to God.