Worship Thoughts

Just thinking…..

I’m a fairly bright and creative person, but sometimes I’m a very slow learner. I was thinking today about the concept of worship. For the longest time, I thought worship was synonymous with going to church. “I’m going to church.” “I’m going to worship.” Same difference.

The last few years, I began to ponder the whole nature of “worship.” I can indeed worship at church, but I can worship other places, also. And there are times that I’ve been at church and didn’t worship at all. I began to separate the aspect of place from worship. I also had to separate the aspect of time from worship. I don’t have to box in my worship from 9:30 to 11 am on Sunday mornings. I don’t have to follow a clock to worship on time. From what I understand of history and cultures, bells and clocks were often used to summon worshippers at various times of the day. But I don’t have to do that.

I’m beginning to understand that my worship experience is to be everywhere and at all times. I don’t compartmentalize a place or time segment and label it “worship”. Yet, I do gather with other like-minded believers at certain times and places for corporate worship. This is right and good. However, my private worship needs to be more of a state of being, maybe a state of mind, a state of consciousness at all times. I don’t think I really should make a separation of my worship time and my “me” time. It all belongs to Him. And worship should be my lifestyle….. my all in all.

So those are my thoughts on the where and when of worship. What about the “what” of worship? What happens? If I continue to confuse going to church at a certain time with worship, then the “what” of worship has to be prayer, song, announcements, song, reading of scripture, sermon, shake hands, song, goodby. And perhaps that’s part of it. Some places tend to ID worship as the singing only, and that’s part of it. They call it praise and worship. So is praise the same thing as worship? Is worship communicating or communing with God? What happens when I worship?

Keep in mind that I am not a theologian. I’m just an ordinary person who thinks and ponders and muses, and doesn’t always get it right. But it seems to me that worship is my sacrifice to One who is bigger and better than me. I have to admit that I am not it, that’s it’s not about me. It’s my expression and acknowledgement that I am not in charge, that I do not have the ultimate wisdom and power (and aren’t you glad….). It’s bowing to the One who does.

Sometimes I just break out in song. I make a joyful noise. I raise my hands in honor. I shout out my praise. Sometimes I just bow my head and cry. I clasp my hands and petition the Lord. Sometimes I just stand silent and listen for the still small voice. I open my ears and eyes and open my palms to be filled.

Can I worship while I pick tomatoes? Can I worship as I drive to work? Can I worship as I play with my grandchildren? Or is worship a time of nothingness dedicated only to Him? I am working on this one! Part of me says to dedicate the worship. Part of me insists that in all things I worship. Do I thank the Creator of the universe for my tomatoes? Do I pray for safety as I drive? Do I rejoice in the gifts of children and teach them on the go about God? Is that worship?

What about style? Do I have to use certain versions, certain eras of music, certain movements? David danced before the Lord. Is it OK if I just stand? I heard of a pastor who was fired once because he didn’t hold his hands right during communion. Uh….. what is the right way? And are there absolute wrong ways and styles to worship?

That leads me to the “why” of worship. To me, this is probably the most important question. Why do I worship? Is it because I have to? Is it because others won’t think I’m holy if I don’t? I think I worship because I have to. It’s not that humans make me; it’s that I am compelled to worship by a holy God. Bow now or bow later is a common phrase. I’ll change that a bit to bow now AND bow later. I worship to give honor to One who deserves all honor.

One thing I am sure of: I need to focus on Him. I need to think of eternity when we gather to worship Him endlessly, when we offer Him the endless praise and honor and glory. What will it sound like? Will it be hymns? Praise choruses? Chant? Or something my human mind cannot even fathom. I need to be able to lose myself in Him.

If you’ve stayed with me this far, you probably are getting the idea that I am unsure of exactly what I am to do about worship. You are right. But I am working on it, and God is still working on me. He is revealing to me a joy and freedom in worship, and I cherish it. In my ordinary life, I just worship Him as He leads me. And what are your thoughts?

To God be the Glory…..
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Published in: on August 15, 2010 at 7:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

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