Have you ever heard the phrase ‘let’s enter a time of worship?’
We know worship is not about songs yet we speak and act like it is.
We say worship is not a song yet so often we hear in church “We are going to enter into a time of worship” and then we begin singing a song. What is that about?! If we enter worship, then do we also exit? Does worship start and then stop? Is it a time? A place? A concept? Are we going somewhere in our hearts? Is worship a noun? A verb?
What is worship?
After over 15 years of being involved in a ‘worship team’ and being passionate about this subject, I am always fascinated to hear different peoples’ response to this question.
There are some similarities, some common themes and clichés:
‘worship is a lifestyle’
‘worship is our life’
Or my personal favourite: ‘worship is everything.’
But what exactly does that mean?
What does worship mean to you? And more importantly where did this thinking originate?
For many of us ‘worship’ takes up a large portion of our church service yet we all have such a different perspective as to what it is. Our thoughts are based on experience, culture, tradition, scripture. These thoughts ebb and flow with the latest song lyrics, the latest message or Instagram post. Our definition is fluid and open to interpretation.
And there lies the problem with worship. We don’t call worship the same thing.
Across Christianity there is no unified definition or theology of worship. In fact even within denominations there is often no recognised theology of worship. There are experiences, practices, culture and perhaps some obvious or somewhat unspoken do’s and don’ts but where do these come from?
If you have been in church for a period of time you would have perhaps moved beyond thinking worship is the slow songs, or the time where everyone closes their eyes and lifts their hands. Maybe you are one step further and have an understanding of worship based on some obscure Old Testament stories such as Abraham coming close to sacrificing his son Isaac, or the prescribed order for worship by entering the outer courts, the inner courts then the holy of holies?
Or perhaps like me, you have been captivated by the awe inspiring stories in the Bible about the musicians being sent out to battle first, or hoped that like King David when you play your instrument evil spirits would flee from anyone within earshot of the ‘glorious sound resonating from your instrument’. Personally I would love to believe these theories are the case, in fact I have spent hours searching scripture to back up their validity. They sounds so noble, so spiritual, so romantic. I want to believe these thoughts about worship.
As a worship leader I do want to lead people into battle; a victory already won in Jesus. I do believe that when the team leads the congregation in song that evil spirits flee. But why? But what exactly does the Bible say?
Are we just parroting things we have heard from others or do we actually have a personal revelation and understanding of the scripture that we say we base our beliefs on worship on?
Yes there may be some truth in what we believe about worship but, it really bothers me when there is no solid foundation as to why we believe what we believe.
The only thing that we can hinge our faith on is the Word of God.
‘A Pilgrimage to Worship’ is a scripture based journey that aims to engage our faith, our mind, and ultimately help us to build a conviction about living a biblical life of worship.
Regardless of what you believe right now and where these ideas have originated from, I would be delighted to have you join me on this journey of discovery. My prayer is that it will enrich your life and that together we can create some great discussion and learn from one another.
- Can you share an experience or scripture that has helped shape your convictions about worship?
- What are you left wondering when it comes to worship?