Designed for Worship
So what’s this business of “worship” all about? Is it some songs we sing each week as we prepare to listen to the sermon? Is it a feeling we get when we think about God? Is it something we can do in private, or only in a gathering of believers? When is the best time to worship? What’s the best style of worship? Does it have specific elements that are required if we are to call something a “worship service?” What is it really all about?
Frankly, those are great questions. In fact, each of you reading this will have varying answers and will place those answers in a different order of priority. Our culture effects the answers to those questions, both our society and our church culture. Our Christian brothers and sisters in foreign lands would answer those questions from their perspective. Go to the Christian bookstore or type in “worship” on an internet search engine and a plethora of commentary, opinions and discussions will surface concerning this subject.
I have found more often than not that most discussions concerning worship are way too narrow. The writer or speaker will focus on one aspect of worship (like music or preaching or prayer) and leave out other elements that are vital (like transitions – as discuss in my upcoming article at www.worldviewchurch.org/worshiparts). Discussions on these topics are important, I understand that and appreciate it, however when that one area becomes the priority for worship or the focal point of worship, I take issue.
Most discussions are narrow in the sense that they only deal with corporate worship – i.e., the one time during the week when everyone gets together to focus on God. Again, this is important, however it is only part of the picture.
Worship is really an all-encompassing subject. It permeates our lives as individuals, as families, as churches and as a culture. Although not as obvious in the American culture, most foreign cultures allow a devotion to deity to be the centerpiece of all that they do. It is really a Western / American phenomenon that we compartmentalize our religion (worship) and isolate it into a particular time slot in our lives.
Read Psalm 19:1 –
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Now, ask yourself the question: What are the heavens doing to declare the glory of God? How does the expanse declare the work of His hands? We could answer that all of creation shows God’s glory by evidence of intelligent design. This is true. However, let’s go beyond that. Let me ask again: What are they doing to declare God’s glory (i.e., worship)? My answer would simply be that they are doing what God created them to do. In other words, God’s creation shows His glory (worships) by fulfilling its God-given mission. The flower worships by being beautiful. The stars worship by shining in the night sky. The fish worship by swimming. The trees worship by swaying and providing oxygen. When they declare His glory they are worshiping? I like to call this “The Heavens Declare” principle. Worship at its fundamental state takes place when God’s creation honors Him (worships) by doing what it was created to do.
So how about us as the New Creation? God has implanted within each Christian gifts of the Spirit by which we are to serve Him, His body and people in general. When we use these gifts, we are doing what he created us to do, and thus we are worshiping. So worship should permeate our lives – especially that worship in which we do what God has created us to do. The beauty of this idea is that we begin to recognize the value of each person’s part in the body of Christ. The men raking leaves in the church lawn, as they use their gifts of service, are worshiping. The men and women who pray unceasingly for needs of others are worshiping through their gift of intercession. Those that serve in the church office, the kitchen, teachers, helpers, musicians, and others worship God through their giftedness. He is honored (worshiped!!!) when His body functions as it was intended to function – each of us serving in our area of giftedness. My point is this: just as creation in reality worships by fulfilling its God-designed purpose, thus we, as new creations, worship by fulfilling our God-designed purpose (spiritual giftedeness). Service is worship!! (see Romans 12:1-2)
This may be a new line of thinking for you in regard to worship, but I would encourage you to think this through for you and your church. Do you know what your spiritual gift is? If so, are you using it? If not, why? God has planned for the church to worship Him by doing what they were created to do. If you’re not doing that, then are you really worshiping?
Posted on September 15, 2014, in Christian Worldview, Content of Worship, Corporate Worship, theology, Worship Leader and tagged Mark Sooy, theology, worship, worship leader, WorshipThink. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.