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Sunday, January 12, 2020


"Worship," they tell me, "is that part of the church service when you sing songs to God." Well, of course, they don't really mean that. When you sing, I guess, but sometimes they're songs to yourself about God. Okay. Songs to or about God. Or thereabouts. "No, no," others tell me, "it includes the offering, where you give of what God has given you back to God." Okay, fine, so we have singing and giving. A pastor told me, "Yes, those are components, but the real worship takes place in the preaching of the Word." And then they'll argue back and forth about that. So ... what is it?

The dictionary defines it as "reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred." Worship in its simplest form is when you apply "worth-ship" to someone (or something). In fact, the Middle English from which we get our word, worship, is worthssipe. You can see, then, that worship can involve God or it can involve anything or anyone to whom you apply worth. For instance, Scripture clearly condemns false worship. It is worship, but it's wrong.

Jesus told the woman at the well, "The God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24). So true worship involves spiritual worship. And it involves truth. Paul says that to be a living sacrifice is our spiritual service of worship (Rom 12:1). In Scripture, the Hebrew word refers to prostrating yourself. The Greek word refers to kissing the hand, prostrating yourself, or kneeling. From the language in both cases, then, you would understand that the proper attitude of worship is submission.

With this view of worship it becomes hard to think of it as that which pleases me, but we do. We want something that appeals to us, that makes us feel good. Oh, feel good toward God, sure, but it's about us and our feelings. That's why most of us are taken aback a little when the pastor says "It's in the preaching of the Word." But if you understand worship to be our prostrating ourselves before God in spirit and in truth, then you come to a completely different place. It's not about us. It isn't limited to singing or even giving. It isn't even limited to Sunday. You come to the place that worship, properly understood, would be aimed at that which pleases the Master, not us. That is a line of thinking, even an attitude, worth pursuing.


Marshal Art said...

"...the aim of carefully handling His Word and patterning my life by His instructions as an act of worship."

Works for me. I should do it more often.

Stan said...

I like the quote. Where is it from?