Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Worship Defined

Every week, I get "The Weekly Walk" e-mailed to me. Last night, I attended a worship singing for the first time in a long time. It was long overdue, and it was wonderful. The words below hit home!

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind . . .” Luke 10:27

We were created and saved for the sole purpose of bringing glory to God. True worship recognizes that I am for Him. I breathe for Him. I live for Him. I spend my life for Him. The essence of worship is proclaiming God’s rightful worth and position. It’s one of the reasons why we go to church: to sweep out the peripherals that have crowded God out of His central place in our lives.

So much of what passes for worship these days misses that mark. Worship is not about me-what God does for me and how He benefits me. Worship is not singing, “Hold me close, let Your love surround me, bring me near . . .” An element of testimony is fine, but worship is singing to God. The joy of worship begins when we break the chains of self to be free to focus on God once and for all. God is not some exalted human being at the top of the mankind chain. God is ineffable glory. He dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16). He is not like us at all. He says of Himself in Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God leads us to the place of worship because that is the place where we rightly belong. The word worship in the Old Testament means “to bow before.” It’s the picture of pressing your forehead to the ground in extreme humility and recognition of the infinite superiority of the one who is worshipped. That is our rightful place. The amazing thing is not that God invites our worship, it’s that He would care about what we as sinful people would say about Him at all and even more-that He would seek it (John 4:23).

Though I can’t explain it exactly, when the God of the universe is rightly worshipped, powerful things happen. When Jesus is passionately adored without shame or pretense, without entertainment or needless comedy, God shows up.“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind . . .” Luke 10:27

We were created and saved for the sole purpose of bringing glory to God. True worship recognizes that I am for Him. I breathe for Him. I live for Him. I spend my life for Him. The essence of worship is proclaiming God’s rightful worth and position. It’s one of the reasons why we go to church: to sweep out the peripherals that have crowded God out of His central place in our lives.

So much of what passes for worship these days misses that mark. Worship is not about me-what God does for me and how He benefits me. Worship is not singing, “Hold me close, let Your love surround me, bring me near . . .” An element of testimony is fine, but worship is singing to God. The joy of worship begins when we break the chains of self to be free to focus on God once and for all. God is not some exalted human being at the top of the mankind chain. God is ineffable glory. He dwells in unapproachable light (1 Timothy 6:16). He is not like us at all. He says of Himself in Isaiah 55:9, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God leads us to the place of worship because that is the place where we rightly belong. The word worship in the Old Testament means “to bow before.” It’s the picture of pressing your forehead to the ground in extreme humility and recognition of the infinite superiority of the one who is worshipped. That is our rightful place. The amazing thing is not that God invites our worship, it’s that He would care about what we as sinful people would say about Him at all and even more-that He would seek it (John 4:23).

Though I can’t explain it exactly, when the God of the universe is rightly worshipped, powerful things happen. When Jesus is passionately adored without shame or pretense, without entertainment or needless comedy, God shows up.

Love you all! T

3 comments:

Luke said...

I liked it! Both times actually. :-)

It's a topic we can't ever quite wrap our minds around..but every once in awhile God gives us glimpses and we quake.

Nick Steffen said...

Ditto. Recognizing the reality of God is a powerful concept that we don't often get ahold of. The Jews understood it: limiting the use of the name JHWH and all. The knew that words had meaning, and above all the name of God would have all meaning. Augustine described this by telling of how we can't define God by presence or absence. We can't define by his presence of attributes because he's bigger than our attributes. We can't define him by absence of attributes since he is certainly a presence.

In other words, we can't define him, we can't leave him undefined, to recognize him, we just have to praise him.

Marla said...

I am so glad that "His ways are higher than our ways." God puts many of those moments in our lives where we may never fully comprehend Him or the things He's doing in our lives. And worship is one of those times.