There is one thing we do every week as the church… we worship. It may be the most important activity we engage in. For some of us, it may be the only church related activity we participate in all week. Why is worship so important?
Theologians of every age have defined the act of worship in different ways. Here are a few…
Bruce Leafblad: Worship is that process in which we make God first in our lives.
Mark Tittley: Worship is becoming aware of God’s presence and responding to His presence with verbal or active expressions of love and devotion.”
Krister Stendahl: Worship is being confronted with a sense of wonder, a sense of our sin, a seeking of purging and purification and a summons to service.
Clement of Alexandria: Worship is celebration. All of life is a festival: being persuaded that God is everywhere present on all sides, we praise him as we till the ground, we sing hymns as we sow the seed, we feel his inspiration in all we do.
Anonymous: Worship is response to God resulting in service to people.
See? Everyone has an opinion! Even I have a definition for worship.
I define worship as an act of surrender.
When I come to worship, I come with the mindset to surrender my will to God. I often think about the words John the Baptist spoke when Jesus began his ministry, “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
Although we are created in the image of God, I still see the need to have more of Jesus in my life and less of me. You know what I am saying…”thy will be done” and not my will be done.
Worship is the place where I surrender myself to God’s love through music, prayer, scripture and even the message.
However, the attitude I bring to worship affects how I worship. If I am not open to God’s love in that moment, I won’t let my guard down. If I come in looking for things to complain about, I will find them. If I come seeking entertainment, I will be entertained (but I won’t be worshipping). If I come in looking for Jesus to connect with me, I will find connection. The attitude we bring to worship matters.
The act of surrendering myself to Jesus at worship will then spur me into faithful living and serving the rest of the week.
Do you surrender yourselves to God when you come to worship?
Oh and more thing…
Christian worship is communal. We also come to connect with others. So many people have said, I can worship God on the golf course, lake, mountain, park, etc. I believe that is partially true.
I am also skeptical of those who say they actually worship by themselves in those places. In all my travels, I have never encountered a person in nature actually worshipping God. OK, rant over!
We worship as a community to be strengthened by others. We are fortified by the voices of others as we sing and pray. We are reminded that we are never alone in the voice of the person sitting next to us.
Come and surrender yourself this weekend whether online or in person. We need more of Jesus in our lives and we need each other.