Worship is something that I think about all the time. It honestly breaks my heart that many people don’t truly understand what worship is. So: what is worship?
I, of course, don’t believe I have a copyright on the definition of worship, but I do believe that many people sell themselves short with their definition of it. And I don’t mean the textbook definition that we quote so often: assigning worth to something greater than ourselves.
Yes, that’s great. And it is true. But, again, it falls short of what worship truly is. I hope to discuss this question in detail in this series of posts I’ll be doing, but first, we’ll ask some important questions about worship, though we probably won’t answer them.
Is worship music? Music is a part of it, but I don’t believe that it is only done through music. This is where, in my experience, people get hung up and end up with a stunted view. They get frustrated because they can’t go to a church building and listen to a band sing praises for them. We’ll get into this later, but that’s an old covenant, temple-worship kind of mindset. We no longer need a high priest to lead us in the sacrifice of our praise.
A much more robust definition would include things like giving, both your money and your time by serving. We also can’t forget about prayer. These three combined with music creates a more detailed vision of New Testament worship.
This is just the starting point of this topic. People, theologians and laypeople alike, have been arguing this for ages, and people much smarter than I have tried to tackle this in a clear, succinct way. My hope is not to redefine worship. I don’t want introduce any revolutionary thoughts. I simply want to talk about how we can have a life that’s not hindered by rigid definitions. Instead, let’s find freedom in how we sing, give, pray, and serve. That combination is certainly “a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” (Phil 4:18).
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