H.G. Bishop Youssef on Acceptable Worship

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

“Acceptable” refers to worshipping God as he wants me to worship, not as I perceive I should worship God. God explained to us in detail how he wants us to worship him. Notice the order and detail set out in the Old Testament regarding the manner of worship God prescribed to His people (see Leviticus and Deuteronomy).

Regarding the New Testament and worship, the Lord said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17).

This worship of the Old Testament was a symbol and prelude to the form of worship set out by God in the New Testament, which worship you can see in the Orthodox Church. That is why if you want to worship in a manner that is deemed acceptable to God, you need to worship according to God’s plan and according to God’s economy. Many people want to edify themselves by worshipping as they see fit; that is unacceptable.
- H.G. Bishop Youssef, Commentary on “The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans”

At times, some may desire to alter the Church’s Tradition and change its method of worship. They say “We’re trying to make the Church more attractive to the Youth”. So the Church tells them “No, on the contrary, what we have received we ought not to change. This is our Tradition which bears the Faith – the sound Faith.” They will say “What is the purpose of confession, or the many fasts” and so on. When the Church attempts to rebuke their error saying, “this is the truth, the Scriptural truth” – he will then leave the Church and be joined to another denomination according to his own desires, where there are “Teachers according to his desires”. They will tell him “Neither communion, fasting, or repentance are necessary. You’re already accepted before God. You need not pursue all these things.” He will then begin to attack sound teachings, not knowing that he has strayed from the Truth and been turned aside to fables.
- H.G. Bishop Youssef, “Listening”, a sermon delivered at St Mary and St Athanasius Church, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada on 18th August 2009