What is Worship?
Though this is not the first post on my blog about worship, this is the first Wednesday Worship post. Because worship music is a passion of mine, I hope to use this weekly category to cover some of the myths and truths about how we do worship in the Church.
Since we usually mean “singing and playing music” when we talk about worship, that’s going to be the main focus. But there is much more to worship than just the songs we perform on Sunday morning.
So what is worship?
Merriam-Webster gives a few applicable definitions:
1. reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also: an act of expressing such reverence.
2. a form of religious practice with its creed and ritual
As a verb, it is to perform an act of devotion, honor, or reverence based on the above.
The word comes from the concept of “worth” or “worthiness.” It’s an act that says “You are worth this much to me.”
That goes way beyond mere singing and playing music, doesn’t it?
So, what is worship?
In a way, it’s everything we do, to the extent that we do it for God’s glory. Worship is our expression of God’s worth, of our respect and honor and reverence for Him.
If I do a good job at work because I believe I am to work as unto the Lord, my work becomes worship.
If I bite my tongue instead of biting off my co-worker’s head because I realize that God calls me to forgive others and treat them with love, that is worship.
When we cheerfully give in the offering plate or cheerfully meet the needs of others, we are worshiping God as much as when we sing hymns and songs of praise.
When I have no words to say, let alone sing, and I simply fall to my knees before God, pouring out my heart’s burden of grief or sorrow, that is worship.
Paul tells us that living our lives as sacrifices offered to God is our spiritual act of worship.
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. (Romans 12:1 NASB)
The Messageparaphrase puts it this way:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
There’s definitely a place for singing and playing music as an expression of our hearts and of God’s worth. And that will occupy the spotlight in my future posts about worship, because that’s an important part of who I am and what I’m gifted to do.
But I want to be clear from the outset about what worship really is.
Because if you think about it, and you trust what the Bible reveals about God, then there’s a lot more He wants from us than a song and dance at church.
These thoughts make me consider the following questions:
- In what ways do I enjoy worshiping God?
- In what ways can I improve?
- Is there any part of my “everyday, ordinary… walking-around life” that is not placed before God?
- How can I more fully embrace all that God does for me?