What is Worship?

I have been taking a class this semester called Global Worship. For one of the final projects we must each develop our own Philosophy of Worship, and then use that philosophy to evaluate a church that we visit that is very different from the one we normally attend.

We have plenty of ideas about what a worship “service” should look like- the type of music, the preaching, at what point the offering should be taken, should people sit or stand, kneel, jump up and down or wave their hands. But is this truly worship? Does worship have to involve singing? Is it a communal or individual activity? As I have been preparing for this paper, these are some of the questions I have been thinking about.

First and foremost, I believe worship is about a heart focused on God and reveling in His glory and being amazed at who He is and what He has done. Isaiah 6 paints a wonderful picture of this as the seraphim called out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with his glory!” (NLT) I have mistakenly gone to church many times, or to prayer, with the desire to get something out of it. I’m tired and I need to be filled up. While God does refresh us in His presence, it’s not about us! The focus is on God. Isaiah knew that he was unworthy to even be in God’s presence, because of the holiness of God.

How does this influence how we worship? Colossians 3:16-17 says, “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God, with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father” (NLT). There are different ways that worship is lived out in these verses. There is the music element, singing praise to God and expressing what is in our hearts. There is the element of teaching, and encouraging one another in our faith walk. But above all, everything we do is to honor and glorify God. This includes the time that we gather with other believers, but also how we live our lives at work, at school and in our everyday lives.

What do you think? There are many aspects of this I’m still pondering and I would love to get your input.

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