Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Worship (Day 2): What is it, really?

If you're reading my 31-day series on Worship for the first time, consider clicking over here to my Day 1 post to see the introduction and to find the rest of the posts in the series!

Worship. We do it through singing and preaching on Sunday morning... but what is it, exactly? For church-goers, worship is an action, an event, and a place. It's been so frequently used that we forget all too often what it truly means.

If I keep worship confined to its neat little box of Sunday morning song, it seems pretty easy. Follow along with the words as a prayer to God, and His weekly need for affirmation has been fulfilled. Isn't that what it means? ...Obviously we would never say "yes" as an answer to that question, but for me, worship is shoved into that little box way too often and sealed with tape that reads "I'm too busy this week, but You know I love you and I'll see you again in a week!" And I check "worship" off on my list.

In examining my life and trying to find ways to squeeze worship into my everyday, I've found myself going back to the basic question of what worship really IS. What does it mean to worship? What is worship?

Worship as a mirror

Revelation gives us a beautiful picture of what heavenly worship already looks like. In the throne room of God, some crazy-looking creatures and elders fall before him and "worship Him who lives forever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
'You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being.'" (Rev. 4:9-11)
Worship, at its core, is the act of holding a mirror to God and telling Him how beautiful He is. It's acknowledging His characteristics and attributes, appreciating them, and telling Him how wonderful they are.
"Worship involves an act of reflecting back to God in praise the glories emanating from His presence." -John Piper (from "Worship is an End in Itself")
I'm thankful that worship, at its core, is something that I can do even when I'm not on the mountaintop. Yes, I can richly worship when I feel that God is near and when I cherish His friendship, but I can also worship when my heart is broken and I don't feel Him anywhere nearby. Why? Because part of worship is speaking Truth to a God who never changes-- ever. In my deepest darkest moments, worship can happen when I whisper "You are faithful." In the moments when I sin (yet again), worship can happen through a tear-stained "I have rejected You, yet Your grace is greater."

When it's put that way, it seems that worship can be altogether easy to fit into the everyday. Take Worship out of the box and set aside your busy-tape-- I'm letting Worship walk alongside me this week because it's easy to speak Truth about a God who has so many good things to praise.

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  1. I love this! Lately it has really been on my heart how worship extends out of our "church services" and becomes a life style. Namely, realizing I need to put my personal victory aside so that the Lord may receive all the glory. Pride is a poisonous thing that causes us to rot from the inside. When you remove that and begin giving the Lord all the glory and all the increase it is such a free happy feeling! It changes the way you do everything! I love the image you gave of worship being a mirror!

  2. I agree! I get really irritated when many worship songs during a service are all about us rather than Jesus. Yay for learning to take pride away this month!