I wonder what springs to mind when you hear the word ‘worship‘? Maybe a time at church when you pause to sing, lift your hands and praise God, being at a Christian concert, a period of contemplation at a conference, listening to music, or just a quiet moment in prayer by yourself in the privacy of your own home.
It can be a hand-raising, eyes shut, silence and a shouting, face to the floor or looking heavenward, singing and stomping, fire and fury, peace and presence, seeking and finding kind of experience – and so much more besides.
Though worship isn’t really so much an activity as it is a heart attitude and a way of life.
I wrote this acronym to help me to remember the gist of worship:
Willing – to give our time and lives as a daily…
Offering – in obedience..
Reverence – and awe as we…
Surrender – in joyful submission of…
Heart – mind and will..
In – everything, giving…
Praise – and thanksgiving to His glory
We give ‘worth-ship’ to God because He is worthy, in and of Himself, to receive all honour, praise and glory. Our greatest question is not how, where or when we worship but who (or even what) we may be worshipping. It is all too easy to turn other people or things into idols, as well as our own ideas, dogma and ways of doing church.
I came to faith in a local Pentecostal church during a convention, so my early days as a believer were shaped by thoughts of worship being continual, noisy, muttering, singing, crying and no-holds-barred. Not easy for a naturally shy girl like me! Years passed. I became mainstream Baptist for a while, dipped my toes briefly into the waters of Anglicanism, then rooted myself in Free Church Evangelical.
Now, no denominational umbrella fully serves for the way I want to worship God. I lean further toward the reflective, Contemplative pathway, soaked in smatterings of Charismatic fervour and receptivity, with a vaguely Evangelical bias. God is too big for any mind-set, denomination, organisation or ‘this-is-the-way-we-do-things’ to be able to contain Him.
Church for me is both everywhere and nowhere specific as I am largely unable to get to services and rely greatly on books, TV and internet for input to my spiritual life. And the more my body is housebound and confined by M.E and other chronic health problems, the more my spirit longs to soar free. Let me loose on lingering in His Presence. Allow me space to hear His voice.
I wrote the poem below as an attempt to define aspects of worship. Though, how do you really define the indefinable? Express the inexpressible? Constrain that which is limitless? I’m not sure. But here is an expression, some of which (I hope) may resonate with you too:
Bending of mind, will, heart and knee in supplication
to God in recognition of all we have and all we can be
Raising of voices, lifting of hands, heart and head to His call,
lowering of our own goals unless they’re in tune
with the will of the One who is sovereign over all
Making time to spend in His word, by His side,
learning to sit still, to listen, rest and abide
Seeking God’s face, not His hands, His Presence, not His presents,
His heart, will and voice, as we give thanks and rejoice
Wonder and awe at all He is, has done, created and made,
how much He loves, gives, restores and saves
Being aware of Who we approach in prayer, words and song
as we give due reverence to the Holy One
Going wherever He leads and calls with prompt obedience and speed,
relying on His supply, provision and help for our every need
Knowing He is Father, Comforter, Helper, and our greatest Friend,
spending these days on earth with Him unto eternity without end
Question: What does worship mean to you?
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