Friday, February 27, 2015

What is Worship?

This is a question I have been asking a lot lately.  One definition that I like states that worship is "the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity." The definition is short, but it really gets to the point of what worship is all about...God!  But I still have questions.  How do we do this in the church?  What happens when we don't feel something during "worship" times?  

I was just reading the story of Jesus healing the man who was born blind in John 9.  This is one of my favorite stories for many reasons, especially when the once-blind man takes on the church leaders for a second time in John 9:24-34.  When the man encounters Jesus a second time, we read that Jesus spoke with him and asked him if he believed in the Son of Man.  The man said yes and worshiped Jesus because of who He was.  The man had already received his sight long before the act of worship. This act of worship wasn't about receiving something there in that moment.  The man was giving reverence and adoration to Jesus because of Jesus's identity as the Son of God!

So often our own worship experience is about what we receive or how we feel, not about what we give.  I am guilty of this. Just this morning, as I was running, I was listening to music and found myself so thankful for what I was receiving through the message in the music.  My next thought was thanksgiving to God, but what about worship?  Was my thanksgiving really worship?  What if I hadn't received anything through listening to the song?  Would I still have given thanks to God? Would my run have been worship in any way?  These questions extend to our "worship services" in the church as well.
Part of the worship team in Apalina
Each week I work with the worship teams in a few of our churches.  We practice new songs in preparation for upcoming services and we pray together.  We also talk about what it means to lead people in worshiping God.  This kind of discussion is something that I want to do more of.  I want us to check ourselves and make sure that our worship time is about God and not just about us or what we receive or how we feel.  

I also want to remember that different people worship God in different ways.  Some people worship through prayer.  Others express worship through reading scripture, while still others find it easiest to worship through the songs that we sing.  Whatever the method, it is important that the church works to offer everyone a chance to express reverence and adoration toward God.  Please pray for me and for our worship teams as we work on making the worship time in our churches a time of giving back to God!


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