musings on worship and christian living

What is Worship?
May 29, 2008, 2:46 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

So… here I am late at night again having a musing. Actually, more than a musing… a full on sermon erupted in my head. (Actually… it’s funny, in my head I can be this great preacher with fascinating illustrations (verbal and visual) and great comedic moments that illustrate my points…. but in reality I hate preaching. Not for fear of being in front of people, but I just stink at it an rather prefer music.)

Here’s what has me all fired up. The question, “What is worship”. It has always bothered me, that question, and I could never figure it out. Something just twisted in my gut every time I heard it and every time the debate fired up. Maybe it’s because the “fight” between modern and traditional worship still rages. Maybe it’s because to my eyes it has always seemed an indefinable art. Maybe I spend too much time thinking about it.

But thinking about it I was, and quite frankly it was driving me nuts. I was trying to sleep and all I kept hearing in my head was, “what is worship? What is worship?” Over and over again, like a parrot that only knows one sentence. “Polly want a cracker! Polly want a cracker!”, or the seaqulls in Finding Nemo, “Mine, mine, mine, mine!” Then it hit me. It was fortunate for my sanity but not fortunate for my sleep as I rolled out of bed to grab my computer. I just knew I had to get it out though for fear of losing it by morning.

You know what I hate about it? That word, what. Just typing it makes me frustrated. What. What is worship? What is worship? What, what, what, what?  I hate that word right now! What a stupid question! Talk about a question that divides! The very question begs a definitive, singular answer.

I’ll give you and example. Ask me what I am and there is a definitive answer. I am a human, of the male gender. Ask me what I drive and you get another definitive answer: a Dodge truck. Now ask me who I am and the story changes… who am I opens the door to theories… and more questions… and deep, thoughtful exploration. Ask me how I drive, and the answer is long winded again. (well, the short version is ‘angry’, but it’s very situational and far from definitive.)

Ask a person who attends a “traditional” style church and you’ll get answers like, “special music, hymnals, hand bells, choirs and pipe organs”. It’s definitive… no room for another answer. Same question to a “contemporary” church member? “Rocking bands, killer vocals, songs with a catch and multi-media that reminds me of MTV.” Definitive… Now here is the kicker… What happens with a definitive answer? Those who don’t agree get offended. “Well, no! That’s not worship to me!” (As if our opinion is all that matters.)

No… I think the better question is “how can we worship?” Then the answers aren’t, “worship is“, but rather, “we can worship by“. It’s inclusive and inconclusive. No answer ends up being the end of the story.

How can we worship? We can sacrifice… we can sing… we can shout… we can sit in silent reverence… we can serve… we can hope… we can pray… we can play… we can dance… we can create… we can love…we can encourage… we can empower… we can include… we can give… we can hold… we can weep… we can laugh… we can breathe…

How can we worship the One who has given us everything? That’s a question I like.


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