What is worship?

I’ve been thinking recently about what worship is (again)… I have been challenged by some things at church, where changes have been taking place.  But within that, it is abundantly clear that regardless of anything else, God wants us to worship him.

Aside from that, my Spiritual Director has been advising me on studying the bible via topic, so I have been studying worship, what the bible says about it and what we think it is.

Worship to many, means the music in the service, and I admit I am probably one of those, I always confuse my non-evangelical freinds when I talk about ‘the worship team’. Evangelicals know this means the band. But of course they are right to be confused. God doesn’t just ask us to worship him in music.

The bible talks about bowing down in worship; kneeling. The wise men (oh, oops I mean Magi) came to worship the newborn Jesus; it tells us to honour the Lord, to serve Him. I love in Mathew where it talks of the women seeing Jesus after his resurrection. It says:
And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. (Mathew 28:9)

I really wonder what they did. It says they grasped his feet and worshipped him. I don’t suppose it means that they burst into song. Perhaps they declared their love for him, perhaps they were bowed down in front as they grasped his feet (probably couldn’t do that standing up, let’s face it..). I imagine they were delighted, relieved maybe; laughing, smiling perhaps, and even fearful – after all they had seen him die. I think if I were them I’d give him a big hug. Could all of this be worship?

I love the Changing Worship Blog and came across this post recently looking at the Lenny Kravitz song ‘are you gonna go my way’, which idiotically had never occured to me that it was about Jesus. derrr…;)  But that’s beside the point, the point is I love the blog because it (I mean him – Robb, the writer) is focussed on alternative worship, usually rock-based, and I love that. If the church is going to move forward, we need to look forward. And not only that we need to look out – to people who are, lets face it, never going to come to a ‘normal’ church. Not difficult really, but to some it seems like the end of the world… If the bible can refer to worship as many different things, shouldn’t we be drawing lessons from that?

I’m sorry this post isn’t longer, there is so much going round my head, but I think there will be more posts as I analyse it all (probably too much…) and I would welcome input or suggestions of places to visit on this subject. thanks 🙂

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  • Reply
    Jo Royal
    October 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    I listened to a talk on Sunday evening on what it means to Worship in Spirit and in Truth. We sing it often, and I think I know what it means when I sing it, but when I actually stop to think about it – when not caught up in the moment or swaying to the music (I don't think I actually do that!) – then I realise I am not so sure. Is it about engaging heart and mind in worship – knowing the truth about Jesus in our mind – propelling us to worship from our heart? Hmmm … whatever it is, I don't think for one minute worship looks the same for different people, in different places, at different times. I totally agree with you – it is far bigger, higher, wider, deeper, than our choice and style of song on a Sunday morning. Worship – showing God how great he is – in whatever way is real to us? Soooo much to think about!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks for the mention and engaging with this. I struggle with "worship" as music all the time (and I'm a musical person). I find engaging with God through the guitar and singing to be great.

    However, I think the real worship starts when we leave church and start being followers of the way. We truly worship when we live as he asked us, caring for the homeless in society. Looking after the widows and the orphans (and all of the others!).

    Have you read "and now let's move into a time of nonsense" by nick page?

  • Reply
    October 20, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    How about trying something quite different? Quakers have a 'Meeting for Worship' on Sundays which is silently listening to God together. Usually it becomes something special, almost something you can touch. Often one or more people will feel led to stand up and share a few words, but this is seen to complement the silence, not break it.

    It's not for everyone, music can be very special too, but worth experiencing if you are researching types of worship.

  • Reply
    October 23, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    There is a really interesting post by Vicky Beeching about worship and the more "show type" church. Probably more charismatic side of things, but its very interesting:


  • Reply
    October 24, 2011 at 9:56 am

    thanks guys ansd sorry for delay in responding to comments. lots to think about there. Robb, no I havent read it – will look it out and thanks @gospelsunshine for the link too.
    Interestingly we had a meeting last night for a new service we are doing and one of the team gave a presentation on worship. It really made me think. the key point (as I remember it) being that when we come to God in worship we need to leave everything else behind and just to focus on Him as we give back to him what he has given to us.

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