Carl Tuttle: Inside Worship

Thursday 1st February 2001

Renowned worship songwriter CARL TUTTLE examines the mysterious dynamic of true worship.

Carl Tuttle
Carl Tuttle

"To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God."

These words stem from the late Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple. Outside of Scripture this may be one of the best definitions of worship I have ever read. Let me try and exegete this little paragraph. In doing so I am laying the groundwork for my next three columns.

To quicken the conscience: Years ago I developed a statement that I think stands today and underscores this phrase regarding becoming "God conscious", Worship is the natural response of the created to the revelation of the creator. In other words, when it is an acceptance of the revelation of God versus the rejection of the revelation that we read about in the first chapter of John. It can't be helped by those who are "being saved" by it. Those who are lost, that are now found, those whom were blind but now see. At the revelation of his holiness we become keenly aware of our un-holiness. We understand that our righteousness is but filthy rags.

To feed the mind with the truth of God: All of a sudden it is easy for us to understand just how I we are and have always been. And how he is about everything. To think wrongly about God is to think wrong about everything,

To purge the imagination by the beauty of God: We see just how bland and tasteless the things we have devoted ourselves too are. We see just how bad the copy is when we see the original. Rather than conceiving ways to hide, to cover our shame by acting shamelessly, we can experience the freedom of doing that which is right and honourable, "All things are lawful, but all things are not profitable."

To open the heart to the love of God: More than experiencing love, we experience the "agape" of God. His unconditional, inconceivable, all encompassing love. A love that knows no bounds, limitless and pure. Love that changes and transforms everything! No longer bastards, but we are joint heirs, eternal family members. To be loved is wonderful, to be loved by God is transforming.

To devote the will to the purpose of God: Adding one thing to another we come to the place where we desire to serve and to seek the purposes of God. Having lived most of our lives in a cage like a parakeet fixated by its own image in a mirror, we are now selfless, rather than selfish. Not a result of rules and regulations, after all we have always known we should care more, do more and act more on behalf of others. Now it can't be helped. Having our conscience pierced, our mind opened, our imagination purged, our hearts opened, the devotion of our will to the purpose of God, is the least we can do. Kind of a Romans 12: 1-2 kind of thing. Think about it.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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