Worship of God

02 November 2006

Your answers

Why does God, self-sufficient in himself, need our praise and worship?

While playing football in the garden, our two-and-a-half-year-old son disappeared into the hedge and re-emerged with two wind-battered daffodils. “Here you are, Daddy,” he said. I did not need these daffodils, nor did I really know what to do with them; but I wanted them more than anything — or, rather, I wanted the heart that gave them more than anything. Maybe fatherhood gives me a glimpse of what praise and worship mean to a self-sufficient God.

Rowan Williams puts it well: “All we can do is offer God playful gifts, the gifts of our celebration, our playing. He does not need it, but he wants the hearts that will and can rejoice, gratuitously, uselessly, pointlessly and beautifully, in what he has done” (Open to Judgement, DLT, 1994).
(The Revd) R. Paul Davies
St Davids, Pembrokeshire

Self-sufficiency is not an attribute of God. It is true that creation depends for its existence on the Creator, while the Creator is self-existent; but God’s nature is to give life and love and freedom, delight in his handiwork, and seek a response from his creatures, which is their greatest good. God does not need our praise and worship, but, like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son, he throws a party and invites us to join the celebration.
(Canon) John Goodchild

The answer is inherent in the question. But it is natural for us to worship: praise and worship of our Creator is the natural result of belief (Psalm 19.1), and of being forgiven (Psalm 102.2-3); it is a privilege that God affords us, the greatest privilege that human beings can enjoy (Psalm 122.1); and God takes delight in our worship, because God wishes us to fulfil the purpose of our creation, and enjoys seeing us doing so (Psalm 96.8).
Christopher Haffner (Reader)
East Molesey, Surrey

It’s we who need to worship God. Peter Shaffer put it succinctly in Equus: “Without worship you shrink, it’s as brutal as that.”
Rosemary King (Reader)

Your questions

Does anyone know of a computer database programme for the church inventory? A. O.

Why do some churches use white communion wine? Should it not surely be red (symbolising blood)?
A. W.

Address for answers and more questions: questions@churchtimes.co.uk

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