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The first time I heard this statement about worship was when I read it in Ben Patterson’s excellent book, “The Grand Essentials,” sometime in the early 1990s. In fact, Patterson went so far as to say that when we call ourselves the “audience” in a worship service, we are committing the sin of blasphemy by presuming to take the place that God alone deserves to have. Those were powerful words then, just as they are now. According to Patterson, the focal point of our worship experience is, or should be, God. I believe it was also in this book (though I could be wrong) that I read about a vicar of a very small village parish somewhere in England, and when no one showed up for church one day, the vicar went on with the service, knowing that the only audience that mattered was in attendance.

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