And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he wasabove all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood. And Ezrablessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen,Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads andworshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground. -- 1 Nehemiah 8:5-6
In the book of Nehemiah is a remarkable passage. This passage before us displays the worship of God’s peoplein amazing detail. This was truly a holy moment! There the priest and scribe, Ezra had a pulpit from which hepreached. The very furniture of that pulpit was “above the people” symbolizing the prominence and heavenlyvoice of God heard in the message delivered there.
This certainly was a holy moment! And at the very center of the celebration there was the word of God. It is stillthe same for God’s people today. At the very center of the service or our worship is the word of our Lord! Themessage delivered by this word is that God is in our midst because of Jesus Christ, his Son! And this messagecomes in various forms. It is an audible word as it is read and heard. It is a tangible word as our Lord speaks tous in his Supper! We might say that as the word of God is at the center of the service in terms of prominence,the Supper happens at the altar in the center of the sanctuary to speak to us of Christ’s sacrifice so central tofaith! There in the Meal the Lord speaks and acts as he delivers into us, in his own words, his “body and bloodfor the forgiveness of sins.” This is truly a holy moment with our God!
This is why we make worship a priority. It is where our God acts and we respond. He comes down to us so thatwill get caught up in him! No wonder we share in worship and celebrate the same! Someone recently said to methat they like to go to church because…they like to go! There is pleasure in being in the presence of our Godthis way! We see this in the response of the people in the reading to the hearing of God’s word as they aregathered. They responded together, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads andworshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground.”