What is Worship?

So for this first post, I thought it to be very important that we define “worship.”  What is it? How is it done? How often is it done? We’re going to explore those things and more in the following paragraphs.

The first question to answer is the foundational one.  What is worship? Even if you are new to the idea of religion or relationship with God, you understand worship better than you know. Of course we are going to look at Webster’s definition of worship.  So here it is: “extreme devotion or intense love or admiration of any kind.”  Wow. Now you understand my previous statement. Whether or not you believe in anything supernatural, you have most likely “worshipped” something in your lifetime. Now, that is a broad definition and for our context we need to narrow it down. We hope as Christians that when we use the the word “worship” that we have it narrowed down to this definition: “intense love for and devotion to the triune God.” That doesn’t mean we always succeed in giving ALL of our worship to God ALL of the time.  But, we try our hardest. One of my favorite definitions of this word is in Barry Liesch’s book The New Worship where he defined “worship” this way: “Christ’s action, our response.” Regardless of our desire to have worship be about God, we need to move foward with the understanding that we can “worship” any number of things, people, or beings at any given moment.

Consider the following: at two different places at the same time, thousands of people have gathered for two very different events. One is a concert of the most popular pop star at the time (let’s say Michael Jackson for the moment, but you can think of whom you want) and the other place is a Chris Tomlin “concert.” For those of you who don’t recognize the name, Chris is a current singer/songwriter of many of the new worship songs that many churches use today. His “concerts” are more often nights of worship than actual concerts. At the Michael Jackson concert there are people crowding the stage to be as close as possible with hands raised, singing as loudly as possible, and feeling like they could live in this moment forever. Strangely enough we see a similar picture at the Chris Tomlin event; hands raised, singing loudly, feelings that we could do this forever. What’s the difference? Well for some maybe nothing. The reality is that even when our “worship” should be directed at God, sometimes it isn’t.  The folks in the front row at Chris Tomlin’s event may just be caught up in the moment like the ones in the front row at Michael Jackson’s concert. But hopefully most people at Chris’s event “get it”. They see his music as a way to direct their devotion and love to God. And, in reaction to that love and devotion, they have raised hands to God and tears of joy for His glory. What’s the point of my little scenario you ask? Well, worship happens everywhere at all times. Someone in this world is worshipping something at this very moment. Sadly that something is fewer times the God of Creation and His Son Jesus Christ and more times something that only satisfies temporarily.  So as we explore this idea, remember that worship is an ongoing event even in our own lives.

We have seen the reality of what worship is. Now, for fear of leaving this first post ambiguous, I would like to lay down some concrete things that we believe about worship here at WBC. Our covenant includes the following statement: “To strive to maintain public worship in our church which is honoring to our Savior through conscientious attendance at the services and prayer and support for its leaders.” But we believe worship to be more than this as well. We also encourage people to maintain private worship as well as join us on Sundays and other services. At WBC we worship in different ways. We worship through hearing the Word, giving and singing praise, as well as serving and loving others.

Next time we’ll get a little deeper. But, as we continue to look at this idea of worship, remember you are worshipping something.  The question is: “What or whom are you worshipping?”

In Him,

Pastor Chad

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